Edgewell Personal Care Brands, LLC v. Munchkin, Inc., No. 20-1203 (Fed. Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Edgewell manufactures and sells Diaper Genie, a system comprising a pail for the collection of soiled diapers and a replaceable cassette that is placed inside the pail and forms a wrapper around the soiled diapers. The 420 and 029 patents relate to alleged improvements in the cassette design. Edgewell accused Munchkin’s refill cassettes, which Munchkin marketed as being compatible with Edgewell’s Diaper Genie-branded diaper pails, of infringement. The district court granted, summary judgment of non-infringement of both patents.
The Federal Circuit vacated with respect to the 420 patent. The district court erred in construing the term “clearance” on summary judgment in a manner dependent on the way the claimed cassette is put to use in an unclaimed structure. The 420 patent claims are directed only to a cassette; absent an express limitation to the contrary, the term “clearance” should be construed as covering all uses of the claimed cassette. The court reversed with respect to the 029 patent, directed to a cassette with a cover extending over pleated tubing housed therein. The district court correctly construed “annular cover” and “tear-off section” but there remained a genuine issue of material fact for the jury, sufficient to preclude summary judgment of noninfringement under the doctrine of equivalents.