SCAG and TORO are competitors in the lawnmower market.  In 2016, SCAG sued TORO for infringing its U.S. Patent No. 8,186,475 that covers a vehicle (lawnmower) having an operator-platform-suspension-system. This design differs from the more traditional seat-suspension because it supports the “entire body” of the operator and helps reduce harmful shock and vibrations on users.

Metalcraft of Mayville (Scag Power) v. Toro-

 The claims require that the operator platform “support an entire body of an operator” during operation use of the vehicle.  Toro argued that users of its mowers must keep their hands on the hand-controls during operation and – since hands are part of the body – their platform does not support the “entire body.”

On appeal though, the Federal Circuit rejected that argument for narrowing claim scope.  Most importantly, the court found that the claims do not specifically require steering controls mounted to the operator platform. Moving from there, the court attempts to adequately address the core argument.


Court Suggestion-

The court here seems to suggest that the platform must directly support the entire body rather than through a component.  The problem with this argument is the seat (another component attached to the platform) actually supports most of the operator’s body.  For the claim to make any sense, the platform’s support function must pass through these attached components.

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Scope of Injunction-

Fed. R. Civ. Pro. R. 65(d)(1) requires that every order granting an injunction to “state the reasons why it issued; state its terms specifically; and describe in reasonable detail—and not by referring to the complaint or other document—the act or acts restrained or required.”

Patent Abstract(US 8186475 B2)-

A suspended operator platform for use with a ride-on lawnmower or the like is connected to a rigid chassis of the ride-on lawnmower by a suspension system that has a parallelogram linkage. The operator platform supports an entire body of the operator and isolation mounts connect a seat assembly to the operator platform. Steering controls of the ride-on lawnmower are connected to the operator platform so that the steering controls move with the operator platform and are suspended and/or isolated from the chassis. The suspension system includes a course-stiffness adjuster and a fine-stiffness adjuster that adjust the suspension stiffness to correspond to a particular operator and/or terrain.