As explained by the district court, Zadro Products, Inc. (“Zadro”) sued Feit Electric Company (“Feit”) for patent infringement alleging that Feit infringed on two of Zadro’s patents: United States Patent No. 8,162,502 (“the ’502 Patent”) and United States Patent No. 8,356,908 (“the ’908 Patent”). Zadro alleged that one of Feit’s products, the Enhance Rechargeable LED Vanity Mirror (model number VRM-1), infringed at least claims 1–9, 18, and 22–23 of the ’502 Patent under 35 U.S.C. § 271(a). Zadro also alleged that the Enhance Rechargeable LED Vanity Mirror infringed at least claims 28–32 of the ’908 Patent under 35 U.S.C. § 271(a).
In its summary judgment motion, Feit asserted that the Zadro mirrors that practice the ’502 Patent do not have marks on them that comply with the requirements of § 287(a). Both parties agreed that Zadro practices the ’502 Patent. The parties also agreed that Zadro does not mark the practicing mirrors themselves. Instead, Zadro contended that marks on the packaging of the practicing products satisfy § 287(a).
The district court explained that § 287(a) requires that a product itself be marked unless “from the character of the article, this can not be done.” “[S]ubstantial compliance may be found to satisfy the [marking] statute.” Global Traffic Technologies LLC v. Morgan, 620 Fed. Appx. 895, 905 (Fed. Cir. 2015) (alteration in original) (quoting Maxwell v. J. Baker, 86 F.3d 1098, 1111 (Fed. Cir. 1996)). No set list of factors can be used to determine whether the “character” of the product makes marking the packaging of the product permissible. Id. at 905-906. Some factors might include the size of the product, whether what is patented is a machine or a multi-part system, and whether the product is immediately installed out of public view once unpackaged. Id. at 905. Continue reading