Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. v. Cadbury Adams USA, LLC, No. 11-1140 (Fed. Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Wrigley and Cadbury compete in selling chewing gum that provides a cooling sensation. Historically, gum makers have achieved that sensation with menthol. Menthol has disadvantages, including a strong peppermint flavor and bitterness in high concentrations. WS-3 and WS-23 are alternative coolants: Cadbury owns the 893 patent, claiming a combination of menthol with WS-3. Wrigley owns the 233 patent, claiming menthol with WS-23. After Cadbury introduced its WS-3/menthol gum, Wrigley introduced a gum with menthol and WS-23. Cadbury then reformulated its products. Cadbury’s reformulated gum contained both WS-23 and menthol. Wrigley sued, accusing Cadbury of infringing the 233 patent. Cadbury counterclaimed, accusing Wrigley of infringing the 893 patent. The district court granted Wrigley summary judgment of noninfringement. Addressing Cadbury’s summary judgment motion, the district court concluded that claim 34 of the 233 patent was invalid for anticipation and obviousness. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The inventors were on notice of potential interchangeability of WS-23 and WS-3, but drafted claims of the 893 patent narrowly to recite certain N-substituted-p-menthane carboxamides, not a broader category of carboxamides that would include WS-23. The trial court properly held that Cadbury could not expand the coverage of its patent to include WS-23 through the doctrine of equivalents.