The Federal Circuit today did what it does best — reconstrued patent claims and, as a result, reversed a district court’s judgment. The court also tossed the district court’s conclusion of copyright infringement, holding that the plaintiff failed to establish ownership as a matter of law. PODS, Inc. v. Porta Stor, Inc., No. 06-1504 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 27, 2007).
The case pitted two moving and storage companies against each other. PODS accused Porta Stor of infringing a patent on a method and apparatus for lifting and loading or unloading portable storage containers. PODS also claimed that Porta Stor copied its rental agreement in violation of copyright law. PODS won on both claims at trial. But the Federal Circuit rejected the district court’s construction of the PODS patent claim and held that Porta Stor didn’t infringe the patent. The court also pointed to testimony that an outside lawyer may have created the rental agreement, raising questions as to PODS’s ownership of the copyright in the agreement. The court thus reversed the judgment for PODS on the patent and copyright claims and remanded for a new trial on the copyright issues only.