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Bestop, Inc. v. Tuffy Security Products, Inc.

United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division

February 4, 2015

Bestop, Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
Tuffy Security Products, Inc., Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER ACCEPTING AND ADOPTING THE SPECIAL MASTER’S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION REGARDING CLAIM CONSTRUCTION [68]

Nancy G. Edmunds, United States District Judge

This matter comes before the Court on the Special Master’s Report and Recommendation regarding claim construction. The Special Master issued his report on December 4, 2014. (Dkt. 68.) Defendant filed its objections on December 15, 2014. (Dkt.72.) Plaintiff does not object and filed a motion to adopt the report on December 15, 2014. (Dkt. 71.)[1] The Special Master’s Report and Recommendation has been reviewed de novo. Fed.R.Civ.P. 53(f)(3), (f)(4). Because the Court finds that the Special Master appropriately constructed the claims, the Court ACCEPTS AND ADOPTS the Special Master’s Report and Recommendation.

I. Background

A. The Patent

Plaintiff accuses Defendant of infringing U.S. Patent No. 6, 065, 794 (the '794 patent). The patent is titled “Security Enclosures for Open Deck Vehicles.” “The patent generally relates to storage management devices, termed 'trunk enclosures, ' that partition and establish a lockable storage trunk in the rear of convertible vehicles.” (Report and Recommendation ¶ 2.)

B. The Claims

The parties contest the construction of the term “means for securing” within the claims of the '794 patent. This term is found in independent claims 4, 5, and 16. Claim 4 is representative of the asserted claims.

In a vehicle having a load deck, deck sidewalls, and a tailgate, a security enclosure for installation within the load deck thereof, the security enclosure comprising:
a first panel extending between the deck sidewalls and sloping upwardly toward the tailgate from a first end adjacent the load deck to a distal second end,
a second panel coupled to the second end of the first panel and extending therefrom toward the tailgate; and
means for securing the second panel in a position relative to the first panel so that an enclosed space is defined by the first and second panels, the tailgate, the load deck, and the deck sidewalls, wherein the deck sidewalls include wheel wells for supporting the second panel in a generally horizontal position.

('794 Patent, col. 9, lns. 1-14)(emphasis added).

C. Special Master’s Report and Recommendation

The Special Master recommended that “means for securing” ...


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