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SRAM asks for new trial in Princeton patent case

Published March 28, 2023

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (BRAIN) — SRAM LLC has requested a new trial after a jury handed Princeton Carbon Works a win last month in a patent infringement suit.

SRAM had filed suit against Princeton in April 2021, alleging that the start-up carbon wheel company was infringing on its patents for a rim with a "wavelike" profile that is said to reduce drag and improve stability. Following a two-week trial, in February a jury sided with Princeton, saying the rims did not infringe on the patents.

SRAM argues that Princeton's attorneys used an "improper ensnarement defense," in which Princeton asked the jury to compare specific measurements and features of the rims, rather than consider the doctrine of equivalents, which would invite the jury to consider whether the rims performed substantially the same function, in substantially the same way, to obtain the same result.

"Instead of holistically evaluating the validity of the claims in the context of an equivalents analysis, Princeton improperly argued to the jury that it should only compare these singular features, such as relating the length of segments of purported constant radial distance in Princeton's wheels to the length of theoretical segments ..." SRAM argues in its motion for a new trial filed Monday.

SRAM's new motion argues in part that the trial judge erred by excluding testimony from SRAM's non-expert witnesses describing the shape and appearance of the wheels. 

"Testimony from a lay witness describing Princeton’s wheels in a simple and straightforward manner based on their own personal observations is powerful evidence of infringement that would be easy for the jury to understand and recall when deliberating. That is especially true for a jury of laypersons charged with performing the very same task: looking at the Princeton wheels and making conclusions about their structures and shapes," SRAM argues in its motion.

SRAM filed the motion for a new trial with more than the 25 pages of exhibits allowed by court rules; it also made a motion asking the court to allow the excess pages. On Tuesday Judge Roy K. Altman rejected the initial motion for a new trial and told SRAM it had until Friday to refile with fewer than 25 pages. 

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