NEW YORK A federal judge has reconfirmed a decision that automotive steels produced by Severstal North America LLC, Wheeling-Nisshin Inc. and AK Steel Corp. do not infringe a patent by ArcelorMittal France and ArcelorMittal Atlantique et Lorraine, according to documents filed at the U.S. District Court in Delaware.
The ruling, filed Oct. 25, concerns two patents at issue: the 805 and RE153. While there are several cases pending claiming different parts of the patent, the ruling addresses the original case filed in 2010 concerning steel with a tensile strength of 1,000 megapascals (MPa) (amm.com, Jan. 25, 2010). The other patent appealsfiled earlier this yearare still pending (amm.com, April 18).
Judge Sue L. Robinson opined that "there can be no doubt that ArcelorMittal pursued its reissue patent as an intentional strategy to avoid the consequences of this courts narrow claim construction, with the ultimate goal of capturing more acts of infringement under the broadening scope of new dependent claim 23 of the RE153 patent."
She added that although the strategy would have worked if it was pursued within two years from the grant of the 805 patent, "the court concludes that ArcelorMittals post-trial strategy" is ineffective.
"The District Courts ruling once again invalidates the ArcelorMittal patent relative to this material," Severstal North America vice president and general counsel Martin Szymanski said in a statement.
ArcelorMittal, however, said that its claim on a reissue patent could still be valid, adding it "believes the court has invalidated claims covering steel with a tensile strength of 1,000 (MPa), but that the validity of claims covering steel with a tensile strength of 1,500 MPa is left for the new cases which were filed earlier in 2013 on the reissue patent," an ArcelorMittal USA LLC spokeswoman said.
"We believe that the purchase or use of steel having a tensile strength of 1,500 MPa (or the equivalent thereof) will infringe our patent," she added in an e-mail.
AK Steel declined to comment further. Wheeling-Nisshin could not be reached for comment.