Sughrue Trial Team Scores Another Win in Automotive Case


Washington, D.C. March 7, 2006 – Sughrue Mion PLLC, one of the country’s leading intellectual property law firms, today announced that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld Sughrue’s recent victory in Koito Mfg.Co., Ltd. vs. Turn-Key-Tech LLC.  Just one day after an oral hearing, the Federal Circuit affirmed the trial court’s decision that Turn-Key’s US Patent No.5,045,268 was invalid.  This was the second appeal in this case, both of which were decided in favor of Sughrue clients Koito Manufacturing Company Ltd of Japan and North American Lighting Company (NAL). 

The April 2003 trial was the result of a declaratory judgment action filed by Sughrue on behalf of Koito and NAL in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.  The trial concluded with the seven-member jury finding the asserted patent non-infringed by Koito and NAL, as well as invalid.

In the first appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the jury’s verdict that the process Koito and NAL used to mold tail light lenses in no way infringed the asserted patent.  The Federal Circuit then remanded the case for further determination regarding the jury’s findings of invalidity.

In a fourteen page decision, Chief Judge Marilyn Huff upheld the jury’s verdict that the ‘268 patent was obvious.  The judge based her ruling on numerous combinations of prior art and admissions at trial extracted from Turn-Key witnesses.  Turn-Key again appealed and the Federal Circuit again agreed with Koito/NAL.