Judge Albright Denies Amazon's And Target's Rule 12(c) Motion For Judgment On The Pleadings Under The Kessler Doctrine

Published date11 November 2022
Subject MatterIntellectual Property, Patent
Law FirmWinston & Strawn LLP
AuthorMichael A. Bittner

On August 8, 2022, Defendant Amazon.Com, Inc. (Amazon) and Defendant Target Corporation (Target) both filed Rule 12(c) Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings. Both Amazon and Target argued that under the Kessler doctrine, Plaintiff Advanced Aerodynamics, LLC's (AA) claims were exhausted because AA's earlier action against Spin Master, Ltd. for the same infringing activities was dismissed with prejudice.

The Kessler doctrine prevents a patentee from reasserting previously litigated claims or issues against a defendant or its customers following a finding of non-infringement. Kessler v. Eldred, 206 U.S. 285, 289-90 (1907). A patent infringement claim is precluded under the Kessler doctrine when (1) the defendant is an adjudged non-infringer and (2) the earlier judgment held that essentially the same accused activity did not infringe the patent. The Kessler doctrine extends to customers of a seller who had previously prevailed against the patentee.

On October 28, 2022, Judge Albright denied both Amazon's and Target's Rule 12(c) motions in separate opinions. In doing so, Judge Albright concluded that Amazon and Target had failed to...

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