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In the US, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday in favor of Brunswick Corporation in a patent dispute with Cobalt Boats. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit cleared Brunswick of infringing on a patent owned by Cobalt Boats on a retractable swim step. 

The Court ruled: Cobalt Boats, LLC owns U.S. Patent No. 8,375,880 (the ’880 patent), which relates to a swim step—a small platform attached to the stern of a boat that makes it easier to get in and out of the water. Brunswick Corporation sells boats with an optional swim step. Cobalt sued Brunswick alleging infringement of the ’880 patent. After trial, the jury found that Brunswick literally infringed claim 4 and that it infringed claims 4 and 5 under the doctrine of equivalents. The district court entered judgment in accordance with the verdict.

We reverse. Under the correct claim construction, the undisputed evidence shows no literal infringement of claim 4, and Cobalt cannot establish infringement of claims 4 and 5 under the doctrine of equivalents because of prosecution history estoppel.

Full judgement is available here.

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