Posts Tagged: "claim construction"

CAFC sides with L.A. Biomedical Research over Eli Lilly in two IPRs challenging penile fibrosis patent

LAB sued Eli Lilly & Company, alleging marketing of the drug Cialis induced infringement of LAB’s patent. Eli Lilly subsequently requested that the Board conduct inter partes review of the patent. The Board agreed to do so and ultimately found the patent to be obvious in light of three prior art references… The Court then found the Board’s construction of certain claim terms to be overly broad, stating the Board’s construction “would make the patent claims applicable to individuals with erectile dysfunction not caused by penile fibrosis.”

Federal Circuit Affirms Grant of Preliminary Injunction to Patent Owner

A preliminary injunction was appropriate when non-infringement depended on an erroneous claim construction; the evidence did not show the proposed combination of references for non-obviousness was enabled; irreparable harm was likely despite other competition, and the injunction tipped in favor of the public interest… The Court held that the fact that other infringers may be in the marketplace does not negate irreparable harm. It also held that the loss by Scag of customers may have far-reaching, long-term impact on its future revenues, and the sales lost by Scag are difficult to quantify due to “ecosystem effects,” where one company’s customers will continue to buy that company’s products and recommend them to others.

Claim differentiation does not broaden claims beyond their meaning in light of the patent as a whole

Claim differentiation does not broaden claims beyond their meaning in light of the patent as a whole, and cannot override clear statements of claim scope found the specification and prosecution history… Disavowal can occur when the specification plainly describes “the present invention” as having that feature. Here, the specification states that an important characteristic of the present invention is a “reduction in upper width … resulting from the extended short seals.” Disavowal can also occur when the specification distinguishes or disparages prior art based on a specified feature. The specification did that here, by stating that prior art bags are difficult to secure over trash receptacle lips and explaining how the described short seals solve this problem.

In non-precedential decision, CAFC says prevailing party can challenge claim construction

what is particularly interesting about this case is that Smith, who had prevailed at the district court and was awarded about $322,500 in damages, thought he could not challenge the correctness of a claim construction made by the district court. While Smith could not have filed a cross appeal in this case concerning the claim construction, Smith could have asserted ‘alternative grounds in the record for affirming the judgment.’ Because Smith did not raise any such alternate grounds on appeal, the Federal Circuit could not address the correctness of the district court’s claim construction.

Federal Circuit Affirms District Court Judgment on All Grounds in LifeNet Health v. LifeCell

Lifenet’s patent is for plasticized soft tissue grafts used for transplantation in humans. The specification discloses that plasticizers can be removed before implantation, although they need not be, as claim 1 discloses three options for the implanting technician, one option being direct implantation without removing plasticizers. LifeCell’s accused grafts are preserved in a solution prior to implantation, and it is undisputed that significant amounts of plasticizers are removed during this soaking process. During claim construction, the parties disputed the meaning of the term “non-removal.” The district court concluded that construction of this term was unnecessary because it was easily understood by a person of ordinary skill in the art to have its plain meaning.

Federal Circuit affirms Apple iPhone patent victory over GPNE

GPNE sued Apple for direct infringement of claims in two of GPNE’s patents. The patents at issue relate to a two-way paging system, where the paging devices are capable of not only receiving messages but also sending messages back in response. The claims asserted by GPNE all recited “nodes” rather than “pagers,” even though the word “node” was not used anywhere other than in the Abstract of the two patents containing the asserted claims. Seizing on this, Apple argued at the Markman hearing that a “node” as claimed should be construed as being a “pager.” The district court ultimately agreed with Apple, and ultimately so too did the Federal Circuit.

Board Cannot Adopt New Claim Construction Without Giving Notice to the Parties

The Federal Circuit held that the Board’s changed claim construction of “data flow,” violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), even if it was correct. In particular, it deprived the petitioner of the procedural protections of the APA, which prohibits an agency from changing legal theories during a proceeding without giving respondents notice of the change and the opportunity respond to the new theory. Because the Board changed its construction of the term “data flow” absent any suggestion from the parties, and without any notice, there was no meaningful opportunity to respond to the unanticipated change. Therefore, the Court vacated the decision of the Board to afford the parties an opportunity to present arguments on the Board’s newly-adopted construction of “data flow.”

Court Affirms Claim Construction of ‘Alias’ was Limited by Specification to Mean Text

The Court agreed with Facebook in that these claim terms had no accepted meaning in the art, which meant that they cannot be construed broader than the specification disclosuses. The Court noted that the prosecution history also provided support for the district court’s construction. Further, because the other evidence was persuasive, there was no need to determine whether certain statements made by the patentees during prosecution rose to clear and unmistakable disclaimer, which is what Facebook argued in the alternative.

Patent’s Non-Standard Use of “Fractionation” Limits Scope of the Claims

The Court found that “fractionation” referred only to distillation-based techniques. The specification’s use of the term “fractionation” controlled even if the definition was idiosyncratic. By that standard, the Court found that “fractionation” did not encompass solubility-based techniques. The specification identified the limits of “conventional fractionation” which were only limits of “conventional distillation,” and no other fractionation techniques known in the art were mentioned. Therefore, the specification equated “conventional fractionation” and “conventional distillation.” More broadly, this demonstrated that the specification equated the terms “fractionation” and “distillation.” This finding was further supported by the repeated and consistent use of the term “fractionation” in discussion of processes to separate mixtures by distillation.

Federal Circuit Affirms Non-Infringement and Untimely Assertion of DOE Infringement

The Federal Circuit found that the specification explicitly supported the district court’s claim construction, which precluded a finding of infringement. Two passages specified the meaning of, and provided context for, a claim term that referred to the relative location among certain claim elements. A “relative location” claim term is often read in light of, and by relying on, the written description. Because the district court’s claim construction was proper, the Court found the grant of summary judgment of non infringement was proper.

New PTAB Rules Level the Playing Field for Patent Owners in IPR

After much public comment and debate, new changes to rules for post-grant administrative trials before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) go into effect on May 2, 2016. These final rule changes, which are the second set of changes since the America Invents Act (AIA) went into effect, are the culmination of a series of PTAB listening tours and public comments to the rule change proposals published in August 2015. Among other things, the new rules are intended to address concerns that patent owners were at a disadvantage in responding to patent challenges, particularly during the pre-institution stage of a PTAB proceeding. The rule changes also introduce certification requirements for documents filed with the PTAB, confirm the broadest reasonable interpretation (BRI) standard, as well as exceptions to the BRI standard for expiring patents, and adopt an appellate-style word count limit for major briefs.

Federal Circuit reverses PTAB claim construction in IPR appeal

Pride Mobility appealed, and noted that the Board construed claim 7 as requiring a “substantially planar” mounting plate “oriented perpendicular” to the axis of the wheelchair’s drive wheel, which the Board found in Goertzen. The Court found that the Board had misconstrued Claim 7, because the claim language made clear that the surface which rendered the mounting plate “substantially planar” must be perpendicular to the drive axis, not some other geometric feature of the mounting plate.

BRI v. Plain and Ordinary Meaning in Claim Construction: Much Ado About Nothing?

On one hand, logic dictates that the broader the interpretation of the claim, the more extensive the array of relevant prior art—and in turn the more likely that the claim will be held invalid in light of that prior art. On the other hand, evaluating whether the Board’s use of the BRI protocol in an IPR claim construction will lead to “different results” than the plain and ordinary meaning construction used by federal courts in claim construction is complicated by the relatively scant evidence on the subject, and the inevitable fact that this evidence is naturally dependent on particular prior art and invalidity and obviousness arguments specific to a particular patent. Even putting aside the question of what impact a different claim construction standard may have in an IPR, In re Cuozzo Speed Technologies will not address several powerful differences between an IPR and district court litigation that impact whether a particular patent claim survives.

BRI and Phillips are No Different – Unified Patents Responds

Unified Patents Inc. explained in its amicus brief in Cuozzo Speed v. Lee that “[t]he phrase ‘broadest reasonable interpretation’ describes the same procedure applied in both the PTO and by the courts.” An inconvenient truth for Cuozzo — but a truth nonetheless. Gene attacked Unified Patent’s position here last Sunday as “false on its face” and “unequivocally incorrect.” Those pejoratives miss the point of Unified’s brief. Unified did not argue that the courts and PTO both apply BRI in name; indeed, Cuozzo would lose his semantic gripe if that were the case. Rather, Unified argued that peeling away the Phillips and BRI labels reveals that both standards employ the same procedure. On this point, Unified’s position is hardly controversial, and Unified is hardly alone.

CAFC: Claim construction is appropriate even where term has a plain and ordinary meaning

Clare sued Chrysler for infringement of two patents on hidden storage boxes for pick-up trucks. Clare argued that the limitations do not need a construction because the meaning is plain to a lay person. The Court disagreed, holding that even where a term has a plain and ordinary meaning, claim construction is appropriate where there is a dispute over the scope of the terms. Here, Clare argued that a storage box with a fluorescent orange external panel on a white pickup truck, and labeled “STORAGE” would meet the limitations, so long as the inside of the storage box was not visible from the outside. Chrysler argued that the external appearance limitations should take into account the external hinged panel used to access the storage box. In view of this dispute, the district court correctly resolved it construing the claim.