2 Kimberly-Clark Diaper Patents Scrapped In First Quality Infringement Lawsuit

By Joseph Mandour on October 1, 2012

Patent LitigationOrange County – Kimberly-Clark Worldwide Inc. suffered a setback Friday in its patent litigation against First Quality Baby Products LLC over children’s diaper training pants when a Wisconsin federal judge ruled that two of its asserted diaper patents are invalid.

The claims at issue of U.S. Patent Number 6,307,119 are anticipated by prior art, Judge William C. Griesbach ruled in granting First Quality summary judgment. The patent concerned absorbent articles that include a wetness indicator.

The ‘119 patent does not convey any new functionality beyond a wetness indicator which was already present in each of three prior art references, the judge said.

U.S. Patent Number 6,849,067, meanwhile, is invalid as obvious, according to Judge Griesbach. The patent covered absorbent articles with refastenable side seams.

KC introduced its Pull-Ups disposable training pants to the mark in 1989. In 2003 it introduced to the market a model with refastenable side seems called Pull-Ups training pants with Easy Open Sides, The product was the subject of First Quality’s summary judgment motion regarding the ‘067 patent, in which the company claimed was obvious in light of the original patent for Pull-Ups.

The patent for the original Pull-Ups pants discloses a pair of elastic side panels that feature a bonded seam extending from the waist opening to each leg opening. The obviousness analysis, then, had to focus on whether any of the prior art First Quality cited discloses a refastenable seam substantially extending from the waist opening to each leg opening, the judge said.

He also focused on whether the substitution of the bonded seam contained in the original non-refastenable Pull-Ups pants with a refastenable seam would have been obvious.

“Disposable diapers in general would suggest that if refastenable seams were to be added, the most appropriate place would be on the sides,” the judge said.

Judge Griesbach struck down another KC diaper patent earlier in September, diminishing the number of patents asserted in the case from seven to four.

The two companies have been battling over the diaper patents since 2009.

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Posted in: Patent Infringement