Trebro Mfg., Inc. v. Firefly Equip., LLC, No. 13-1437 (Fed. Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Trebro’s patents involve sod harvesters: vehicles with knives that cut sod pieces from the ground, conveyor belts to transport the pieces, and mechanisms to stack them on a pallet. FireFly’s accused product is the ProSlab 150. Trebro also sells sod harvesters, including the SC2010 Slab. FireFly did not contest priority on the claims. While the preliminary injunction motion was pending, FireFly requested ex parte reexamination of thepatent, based primarily on two patents invented by the same individuals. After ordering reexamination, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office terminated the proceeding because neither of the patents qualified as prior art because they were not considered invented] by “others’ under 35 U.S.C. 102(a) or (e) and because each was published within the one year grace period. The district court denied a preliminary injunction. The Federal Circuit vacated and remanded, noting a record that strongly suggests a likelihood of success on the merits and a likelihood of irreparable harm. The court reasoned that the nature of the market is such that money damages would likely be inadequate and that the fact that Trebro does not presently practice the patent does not detract from its likely irreparable harm.