SafeTCare v. Tele-Made (Fed. Cir. 2007).
SafeTCare’s patent covers a bariatric hospital bed designed for obese patients. On summary judgment, the district court found that the Tele-Made beds do not infringe. Other defendants and counterclaims are still pending.
Jurisdiction: On appeal, the CAFC sua sponte questioned jurisdiction. Because the judgment was not complete as to all parties and the judge had not issued a Rule 54(b) order of appealability (See Bashman), the CAFC did not have jurisdiction at the time of oral arguments. However, the CAFC allowed the parties time to ask for such an order from the district court before dismissing the appeal. (This pragmatism is perhaps due to Judge Robinson’s place on the panel).
Upward Force: SafeTCare’s patent requires a plurality of motors exerting a pushing or upward force on the bed. Tele-Made’s motors are essentially attached to one end of a lever, and by pulling down, cause an upward force on the other end of the lever. However, because SafeTCare’s specification implied a direct link between the motor and the bed, the levered approach was non-infringing. Prosecution history estoppel blocks DOE coverage.