Sunday, September 11, 2005

Aquatex Industries v. Techniche Solutions

Aquatex patented a method for cooling a person providing a multilayered, liquid retaining composite material, including a fiberfill batting material; soaking such composite material in a liquid; and evaporatively cooling the person by using the composite material as a garment. Techniche manufactures a garment comprising Vizorb, which is cellulose pulp that incorporated natural and synthetic fibers. The C.A.F.C. construed the term 'fiberfill batting material' would mean polyester to one of ordinary skill in the art, and therefore affirming no literal infringement. However, the court found that prosecution history did not prevent assertion of the doctrine of equivalents. Aquatex amended their claim by adding the limitation 'by evaporation'. While the prior art Aquatex was distinguishing itself from contained natural fibers, because Aquatex distinguished its invention by the method of evaporation, and not the structure of the material, Aquatex had not clearly and unmistakably surrendered natural fibers, and argument-based prosecutory estoppel did not apply.
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