Decisions
This section of the Web Site contains opinions selected by individual Judges for posting and is not intended to constitute a complete set of opinions for the district or any Judge. The decisions are organized by categories listed on the lower left portion of this page. If you would like to do a word search of the entire database or individual categories you may do so by clicking on the search button below.


CategoryCase NameDate Filed
Syngenta Seeds, Inc. v. Bunge North America, Inc. (Action by plaintiff seed producer based on defendant grain elevator company’s refusal to accept transgenic corn grown from the seed producer’s seeds, because it had not been approved for import in China, and placement of signs at the grain elevator company’s facilities stating its reasons for refusing to accept such corn; seed producer’s motion for preliminary injunction: clarification of standards for a preliminary injunction in Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7 (2008); balancing of the seed producer’s likelihood of success on its claims of violations of the United States Warehouse Act (USWA), 7 U.S.C. § 241 et seq., including whether there is a private right of action for violations of that Act, comparable provisions of Iowa statutory and common-law warehousing obligations, and false advertising pursuant to § 43(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)(1)(B); the seed producer’s showing of irreparable harm based on damage to reputation and goodwill; the balance of equities in light of the determination on the seed producer’s likelihood of success and the costs to the grain elevator company of accepting the transgenic corn at issue; and the public interest)09/26/2011Mark W. Bennett
Fraserside IP LLC v. Youngtek Solutions Limited (Copyright and trademark infringement, defendant’s motion to set aside default, analysis of whether service or process in Cyprus was satisfied under the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra-Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters where plaintiff used private process server and the summons and complaint, with no Greek translation, were served on defendant’s agent for process in Cyprus, analysis of whether the default should be set aside for good cause.)07/12/2011Mark W. Bennett
PSK, LLC dba Overhead Door Company of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City v. Randy Hicklin dba A-1 American Garage Door Repair, Advanced Garage Door Repair and/or Over Head AAA Garage Door Repair; and Danetta Hicklin dba A-1 American Garage Door Repair, Over Head AAA Garage Door Repair, Affordable Overhead Garage Door Repair and American Certified Door Co.; order granting defedants' summary judgment motion with respect to infringement and dilution claims but denying summary judgment with respect to unfair competition claim in the form of passing off12/02/2010Linda R. Reade
Transamerica Life Insurance Company, et al v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Company : (Action by one insurance company seeking declaration of non-infringement of another insurance company’s business method patent for a “method and apparatus for providing retirement income benefits” and the other insurance company’s counterclaims for infringement: motions, after jury verdict finding infringement and court’s entry of permanent injunction, concerning infringer’s compliance with permanent injunction: infringer’s motion to modify permanent injunction, pursuant to Rule 60(b)(5) (last clause), based on three purported “design arounds” and for refund of royalties paid based on the first “design around”; patent holder’s motion, pursuant to paragraph 4 of the permanent injunction, for a further accounting and payment of a further royalty at a further enhanced rate based on assertion that “design arounds” still infringe the patent-in-suit)03/08/2010Mark W. Bennett
Transamerica Life Insurance Co. et al v. Lincoln Natinal Life Insurance Co. (Bill of Costs, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54 and 28 U.S.C. § 1920; the court decides whether the prevailing party should have deposition and document discovery costs apportioned, due to the risk of impermissible double recovery resulting from the anticipated use of the same depositions and document discovery in the other trial; the court also determines whether third party technology vendor consultant’s fees, travel, lodging, and food expenses are properly considered “exemplification” costs under § 1920; the court holds that (1) deposition and document discovery costs should not be apportioned due to a second pending trial but that such costs incurred before the commencement of the suit are not compensable, and (2) third party technology vendor consulting fees are properly considered “exemplification” costs under § 1920 and were necessarily incurred due to the complexity of the case but that the consultant’s travel, lodging, and food expenses are not compensable)08/17/2009Mark W. Bennett
Transamerica Life Insurance, et al. v. Lincoln National Life Insurance (Action by one insurance company seeking declaration of non-infringement of another insurance company’s business method patent for a “method and apparatus for providing retirement income benefits” and the other insurance company’s counterclaims for infringement: post-trial motions after jury trial on infringement and invalidity issues: alleged infringer’s motion for JMOL pursuant to Rule 50(b); alleged infringer’s alternative motion for new trial pursuant to Rule 59(a); prevailing patent holder’s motion for prejudgment interest; prevailing patent holder’s motion for permanent injunction)06/08/2009Mark W. Bennett
Transamerica Life Insurance Company, et al. v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Company: (Action by one insurance company seeking declaration of non-infringement of another insurance company’s business method patent for a “method and apparatus for providing retirement income benefits” and the other insurance company’s counterclaims for infringement: patent holder’s motion to strike exhibits and witnesses purportedly previously excluded by the court or that were not disclosed in compliance with orders of the court)01/29/2009Mark W. Bennett
Transamerica Life Insurance v. Lincoln National Life Insurance (Action by one insurance company seeking declaration of non-infringement of another insurance company’s business method patent for a “method and apparatus for providing retirement income benefits” and the other insurance company’s counterclaims for infringement: parties’ motions in limine: evidence of the PTO’s ex parte reexmination of the patent-in-suit; evidence of “commentary” from the court’s claim construction ruling; deposition testimony and other evidence of the alleged infringer’s marketing materials; evidence of inadequacies of the PTO, “business method” patents, or “tax planning” patents; evidence of infringement and damages theories that are purportedly erroneous as a matter of law)01/08/2009Mark W. Bennett
Transamerica Life Insurance v. Lincoln National Life Insurance : (Action by one insurance company seeking declaration of non-infringement of another insurance company’s business method patent for a “method and apparatus for providing retirement income benefits” and the other insurance company’s counterclaims for infringement: parties’ motions in limine regarding experts on Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), relevance, and timeliness grounds)01/05/2009Mark W. Bennett
Transamerica Life Insurance Co. et al v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Co.: (Action by one insurance company seeking declaration of non-infringement of another insurance company’s business method patent for a “method and apparatus for providing retirement income benefits” and the other insurance company’s counterclaims for infringement: nominative defendant’s objection to magistrate judge’s order granting nominative plaintiff’s motion to supplement expert report: standard of review for magistrate judge’s order on non-dispostive matter pursuant to Rule 72(a); standards to supplement under court’s Scheduling Order; supplementation pursuant to Rule 26(e)(2) and under “substantially justified or harmless” standard under Rule 37(c))12/18/2008Mark W. Bennett
Transamerica Life Insurance Company, et al. v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Company (Action by one insurance company seeking declaration of non-infringement of another insurance company’s business method patent for a “method and apparatus for providing retirement income benefits” and the other insurance company’s counterclaims for infringement: nominative plaintiff’s motions to amend pleadings after deadline in scheduling order based on alleged change in the law for “patent-eligible subject matter” and newly discovered information concerning “inequitable conduct”: Applicability of Rule 15(a) or Rule 16(b) standards; application of Rule 16(b) standards of “untimeliness” and “diligence”; alternative Rule 15(a) analysis)12/05/2008Mark W. Bennett
Transamerica Life Insurance, et al. v. Lincoln National LIfe Insurance Company : (Action by one insurance company seeking declaration of non-infringement of another insurance company’s business method patent for a “method and apparatus for providing retirement income benefits” and the other insurance company’s counterclaims for infringement: ruling after Markman hearing on patent claim construction)03/10/2008Mark W. Bennett
Ideal Instruments, Inc. v. Rivard Instruments, Inc. & Meril Rivard (patent infringement suit involving patents for “detectable” hypodermic needles for livestock: plaintiff’s petition for attorney fees and expenses after court’s ruling imposing Rule 11 sanctions on the corporate defendant and its attorneys for filing a preliminary injunction motion lacking sufficient evidentiary support and for an improper purpose: reductions of fees claimed for lack of direct relationship to sanctionable action and “block billing,” and a further reduction to an amount sufficient to serve the deterrent purpose of a Rule 11 fee award)09/19/2007Mark W. Bennett
Ideal Instruments, Inc. v. Rivard Instruments, Inc. & Meril Rivard (patent infringement suit involving patents for “detectable” hypodermic needles for livestock: claim constructions after Markman hearing)08/10/2007Mark W. Bennett
Ideal Instruments, Inc. v. Rivard Instruments, Inc. ((patent infringement suit; plaintiff’s motion for sanctions against defendants and their counsel pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 28 U.S.C. § 1927, and/or the court’s inherent authority for filing their motion for preliminary injunction, which asserted that the plaintiff was committing false advertising and threatening public safety by selling patented “detectable” hypodermic needles for use on livestock that are not actually “detectable” within the meaning of the meat processing, veterinary, and detectable needle industries: finding violations of Rule 11(b)(3) for filing a motion lacking evidentiary support and Rule 11(b)(1) for filing a motion for an improper purpose, imposing sanctions in the form of part of plaintiff’s attorney fees for litigating the preliminary injunction motion, and imposing such sanctions against the corporate defendant, defendants’ outside counsel, and defendants’ local counsel, but declining to impose other sanctions.)07/03/2007Mark W. Bennett
Ideal Instruments v. Rivard Instruments (patent infringement suit involving a false advertising counterclaim pursuant to § 43(a) of the Lanham Act: defendant’s motion for preliminary injunction based on allegedly false advertising of plaintiff’s livestock hypodermic needles as “detectable”: consideration of “Dataphase factors” and elements of a false advertising claim to determine whether the court should issue a preliminary injunction requiring a ban on sales and a recall of plaintiff’s “detectable” needles).03/28/2007Mark W. Bennett
Highway Equipment Company, Inc., Plaintiff/Counterclaim-Defendant v. Cives Coporation and Monroe Truck Equipment, Inc., Defendants/Counterclaim Plaintiffs; markman order in a patent case construing various claims of the patents-in-suit.03/07/2007Linda R. Reade
Interbake Foods, LLC v. Tomaeillo, et al (Suit by employer against former employee and his current employer alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and other confidential information; motion for preliminary injunction; court held (1) federal standards rather than state law standards would be applied to determine whether preliminary injunction should issue; (2) Iowa substantive law applied to the plaintiff’s claims; (3) application of the Dataphase factors requires issuance of a preliminary injunction enjoining disclosure of Interbake’s trade secrets by Tomasiello and misappropriation of those secrets by his current employer; (4) application of those same factors does not require issuance of a preliminary injunction enjoining Tomasiello’s continued employment with BoDeans as it relates to wafer manufacturing; (5) a preliminary injunction of appropriate scope should issue after the posting of adequate security; (6) plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction is therefore granted in part, and denied in part.)11/13/2006Mark W. Bennett
Maytag Corporation v. Electrolux Home Products, Inc. (Patent infringement action by assignee of patents for plastic washing machine baskets and the process for making them; cross-motions for summary judgment involving validity, infringement, and willful infringement issues; court found two validity issues under 35 U.S.C. § 112, the “written description” and “enablement” requirements, to be dispositive of the case)09/08/2006Mark W. Bennett
Ideal Instruments, Inc. v. Rivard Instruments, Inc. & Meril Rivard (Suit involving claims of infringement by the defendants of the plaintiff’s United States patent, non-infringement by the plaintiff of the defendants’ Canadian patent, and various commercial torts; defendants’ motion to reconsider ruling on motion to dismiss to consider alternative motion to stay and plaintiff’s motion to amend complaint: motion to amend should be addressed before motion to reconsider, because it might, and in this case did, moot portions of the motion to reconsider; standards for reconsideration of an interlocutory order and standards for a stay of proceedings: claims of amended complaint that required determination of issue of whether the plaintiff was infringing the defendants’ Canadian patent were stayed pending determination of infringement issue by Canadian court).06/21/2006Mark W. Bennett
Ideal Instruments, Inc. v. Rivard Instruments, Inc. & Meril Rivard (Suit involving claims of infringement by the defendants of the plaintiff’s United States patent, non-infringement by the plaintiff of the defendants’ Canadian patent, and various commercial torts; defendants’ motion to dismiss: individual defendant’s motion to dismiss all claims against him for lack of personal jurisdiction, failure to state claims upon which relief can be granted, and forum non conveniens, and to dismiss foreign patent claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, international comity, and abuse of process; corporate defendant’s joinder in motion to dismiss foreign patent claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, international comity, and abuse of process, and to dismiss commercial tort claims for forum non conveniens and failure to state claims upon which relief can be granted; plaintiff’s motion for default judgment against corporate defendant on unchallenged claim of infringement of United States patent).05/08/2006Mark W. Bennett
Maytag Corporation v. Electrolux Home Products, Inc., d/b/a Frigidaire : (Patent infringement action by assignee of patents for plastic washing machine baskets and the process for making them; ruling after Markman hearing on patent claim construction)01/19/2006Mark W. Bennett
Pro Edge, L.P., et al. v. Gue, et al. (Plaintiffs, shortly following removal from state court, filed motion to extend temporary restraining order issued by state court and for a preliminary injunction to enjoin defendants from engaging in competing activities in Belgrade, Montana area in violation of employment agreement, which contained a non-compete clause, signed by individual defendant while employed with plaintiffs; defendants resisted and filed a motion to dismiss; day long preliminary injunction evidentiary hearing held; court lacked personal jurisdiction over defendant corporation, which was incorporated and had principal place of business in Montana, and had no contacts with Iowa; court had specific personal jurisdiction over individual defendant where that defendant executed the employment agreement in Iowa in 1996, remained in Iowa for a year and a half following execution of employment agreement, remained an employee of Iowa plaintiffs even after relocating to Montana, defendant’s direct supervisor was always in Iowa up until his separation with plaintiffs on April 8, 2005, defendant maintained contact with Iowa main office on weekly basis, defendant received paycheck from Iowa bank account, employment agreement contained an Iowa choice of law clause, and defendant maintained ownership stake, in the form of partnership units, in Pro Edge, L.P.; examining the case under Restatement (Second) Conflict of Laws § 187(2)(b), court found that § 188 factors amounted to a “tie” and deferred to the parties expression of Iowa choice of law in the employment agreement; non-compete clause of employment agreement reasonable and enforceable under Iowa law; as corporation is entitled to use fictitious name in making contracts, fact that plaintiff’s predecessor used fictitious name in signing employment contract with individual defendant did not make contract unenforceable; after examining corporate reorganization of plaintiffs, court held that Pro Edge, L.P. properly held the employment agreement and could enforce it against individual defendant; on balancing of the Dataphase factors, the court found the factors weighed in favor of granting a preliminary injunction; preliminary injunction would issue following plaintiffs posting of a bond in the amount of $30,000.00; venue was proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(a); court would not dismiss for forum non conveniens; defendants’ motion to dismiss granted in part and denied in part; plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction granted.)06/01/2005Mark W. Bennett
Sioux Biochemical, Inc. v. Cargill, Inc. (Action arising from a dispute over the defendant’s use of the plaintiff’s allegedly secret process for manufacturing chondroitin sulfate; defendant’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims of fraudulent misrepresentation, correction of patent inventorship, conversion of intellectual property, and common-law misappropriation, or, in the alternative, to strike the common-law misappropriation claim as redundant of a similar statutory claim)04/11/2005Mark W. Bennett
Engineered Products, Inc. v. Donaldson, Co. (Patent infringement action based on patent for air filter restriction indicator; ruling on equitable defenses tried to court and post-trial motions following jury verdict for plaintiff: (1) defense of obviousness-type double patenting; (2) defenses of laches and estoppel; (3) post-trial motions: (a) erroneous claim construction; (b) infringement; (c) “lost profits” damages; (d) “willfulness” of infringement; (e) errors in instructions and verdict form; (f) juror confusion over ability to find both “literal” infringement and “doctrine of equivalents” infringement; (g) court’s comments to defendant’s damages expert; (h) use during jury selection of a videotape providing an introduction to patent law; (i) enhanced damages; and (j) pre- and post-judgment interest)08/12/2004Mark W. Bennett
Jon E. Kinzenbaw and Kinze Manufacturing, Inc. v. Case LLC fka Case Corporation and New Holland North America, Inc.; Case LLC fka Case Corporation and New Holland North America, Inc., Counterplaintiffs v. Jon E. Kinzenbaw Kinze Manufacturing, Inc., James J. Hill and Emrich & Dithmar, a partnership, Counterdefendants; Case moved to disqualify Kinze's lead counsel; Cahill firm in Chicago appeared as counsel for Kinze in November 2001. In October 2002, Perkins Coie acquired the Cahill firm and thus represents Kinze from its Chicago office; Perkins Coie (Seattle office) has represented Case on various business matters since 1996; nearly 3 years into the case, 17 months after Perkins Coie began its representation of Kinze, and with trial set to commence within the year 2004, Case moved to disqualify Perkins Coie; although Perkins has violated the ethical duty not to work for two adverse parties simultaneously, the court finds under these circumstances the motion to disqualify should be denied05/20/2004Linda R. Reade
Jon E. Kinzenbaw and Kinze Manufacturing, Inc. v. Case, LLC fka Case Corporation and New Holland North America, Inc. and Case, LLC fka Case Corporation and New Holland North America, Inc. v. Jon E. Kinzenbaw, Kinze Manufacturing, James J. HIll and Emrich & Dithmar; Order regarding construction of two disputed claims in patent for agricultural implement; holding ordinary meaning of claim language governs and declining to alter meaning of claim language based on description of preferred embodiment in patent specification or on disavowal of claim meaning during prosecution history05/12/2004Linda R. Reade
Engineered Products Co. v. Donaldson Co., Inc. (Patent infringement action based on patent for air filter restriction indicator; pre-trial motions in the following categories: (1) motions relating to EPC’s case-in-chief (infringement under the doctrine of equivalents, willful infringement); (2) motions relating to Donaldson’s defenses (obviousness-type double patenting, patent misuse, separate patentability); (3) motions relating to experts (qualification, reliability, untimely disclosure); (4) waiver of privilege as to communications to or from EPC’s prior patent counsel; (5) admissibility of a videotape on practices and procedures of the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO); and (6) the release of summary judgment exhibits for use at trial.04/13/2004Mark W. Bennett
Dethmers Manufacturing Co., Inc. v. Automatic Equipment Mfg. Co. : (patent infringement action; defendant’s motion to reconsider summary judgment of invalidity of plaintiff’s “reissue patent,” after district court’s ruling and appellate review: “reconsideration” based on purported “new authority,” the Supreme Court’s decision in Festo Corp. v. Shoketsu Kinzoku Kogyo Kabushiki Co., Ltd., 535 U.S. 722 (2002), including the impact of the “law of the case” doctrine and “mandate rule” in the circumstances presented, and the extent to which the Festo decision, concerning prosecution history estoppel for infringement under the doctrine of equivalents, was “new” and applicable to the “recapture rule” for the validity of a reissue patent)01/14/2004Mark W. Bennett
Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. v. Ottawa Plant Food, Inc. (Patent infringement action for unlicensed resale of seed corn; parties’ motions in limine: motions to exclude evidence from experts under Daubert, to exclude evidence of settlement with other defendants, to exclude evidence of equitable defenses in jury trial, to exclude statements defendant purportedly obtained from state and federal agencies regarding lawfulness of its conduct, to exclude evidence of an opinion of counsel of non-infringement purportedly obtained by defendant but as to which defendant has asserted attorney-client and work-product privileges, and to exclude plaintiff’s evidence of reasonable royalties as sanction for failure to disclose other royalty agreements; defendant’s motion for advisory jury on equitable defenses)10/24/2003Mark W. Bennett
Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. v. Ottawa Plant Food, Inc. (Patent infringement action for unlicensed resale of seed corn; parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment on liability issues: applicability of "first sale" or "patent exhaustion" doctrine, restrictions and notice of restrictions in "limited label license," enforceability of "limited label license"; defendant’s motion for summary judgment on damages issues: satisfaction of "marking" statute, 35 U.S.C. § 287, damages for infringement pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 284, full compensation from prior sale, and increased damages for "willful" infringement)09/29/2003Mark W. Bennett
Walker Manufacturing, Inc. v. Hoffmann, Inc, et al. (Suit for interference with intellectual property rights and business; defendant’s second motion for partial summary judgment: applicability of doctrine of de minimis non curat lex to "reverse palming off" claims under the Copyright Act and Lanham Act; cognizability of "copying" claim as "reverse palming off"; requirement of "actual consumer confusion" to obtain money damages for "reverse palming off"; availability of permanent injunctive relief; impact of possibility of "reverse engineering" on definition of a "trade secret"; and availability and measure of money damages, including a "reasonable royalty," for misappropriation of trade secrets)05/12/2003Mark W. Bennett
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