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Glen Dimplex Americas Ltd. v. Twin-Star International, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

November 20, 2019

GLEN DIMPLEX AMERICAS LTD., F/k/a DIMPLEX NORTH AMERICA LIMITED, Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant,
v.
TWIN-STAR INTERNATIONAL, INC., Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF NO. 39) AND GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION UNDER RULE 56(D) (ECF NO. 41) [1]

          AVERN COHN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I.

         This is a patent case involving electric “fireboxes.” The parties are competing manufactures of “fireboxes” and each have patents related to them. As will be explained, this is the third case they have litigated against one another. The parties entered into a settlement agreement following the second case. In the current case, Glen Dimplex Americas Ltd. f/k/a Dimplex North America (Dimplex) is suing Twin-Star International, Inc. (Twin-Star) seeing declaratory relief that it has not infringed three of Twin-Star's patents, contending in part that Twin-Star's infringement claims are barred by the settlement agreement. The patents in suit are:

U.S. Patent No. 9, 476, 596 - containing a “dimmable feature”
U.S. Patent No. 9, 459, 010 - containing a “heater disable” feature
U.S. Patent No. 8, 739, 439 - containing a “multi-chromatic feature”

         The three accused Dimplex products are:

the RBF (a Revillusion-branded product);
the BLF (a Prism-branded product);
the DFR

(hereafter, “the Accused Products”). Twin-Star filed an answer and counterclaim, contending that the Accused Products were introduced into the market after the settlement agreement and infringe its patents. The parties have not engaged in discovery.

         Before the Court is Dimplex's motion for summary judgment on the grounds that there is no genuine issue of material fact that the settlement agreement bars Twin-Star's claims against the Accused Products or Twin-Star should be equitably estopped from claiming infringement. In response, Twin-Star filed a Rule 56(d) motion, contending that the Court should deny Dimplex's motion for summary judgment without prejudice or at least suspend briefing until Twin-Star has conducted discovery.

         For the reasons that follow, Dimplex's motion is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE and Twin-Star's motion is GRANTED. Dimplex will have to litigate the case it first filed. If it turns out that Twin-Star's infringement claims based on the ...


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