Posts Tagged: "claim construction"

Federal Circuit Reiterates High Standard for Prosecution History Disclaimer

In a January 29, 2016 decision, the Federal Circuit vacated a jury judgment of non-infringement and ordered the District of Delaware to conduct a new trial where construction of a claim term based on prosecution history disclaimer was found to be too narrow. In rejecting the district court’s construction as too limiting, the Court emphasized the high standard for finding prosecution history disclaimer of claim scope. Examining the two prosecution history passages said to be a disclaimer, the Court found that each was readily susceptible to a narrower reading than the one needed to support the district court’s conclusion.

Wi-LAN suffers Federal Circuit defeat to Apple in patent dispute

Wi-LAN argued that even if they could not prove direct infringement, a structure that performs the steps in the reverse order should properly be found to infringe under the doctrine of equivalents. Curiously, the Federal Circuit disagreed despite finding the Wi-LAN argument to have merit. Exactly how the Federal Circuit came to the determination that there was substantial evidence to support the jury verdict on the doctrine of equivalents is unclear.

CAFC uses de novo review because claim interpretation based solely on intrinsic evidence

On remand, the Federal Circuit used the de novo standard. Teva’s deferential “clear error” standard did not apply, because the district court did not make any factual findings based on extrinsic evidence in connection with its claim construction. Although extrinsic evidence may be used at trial, a district court must rely on subsidiary factual findings from that evidence to reach its claim construction, in order for any deference to arise on appeal. In this case, the Federal Circuit held that the intrinsic evidence led to a de novo conclusion that the district court conflated the claimed virtual machine with applications written to run on the virtual machine.

Will SCOTUS Provide Guidance on Judicial Review and Claim Construction for IPR Proceedings?

The NYIPLA asks the Court to grant the petition in order to make clear that judicial review is available when the PTO institutes an IPR proceeding and invalidates patent claims in violation of its statutory authority, and to determine the claim construction standard that the PTO should apply to determine patent validity. The NYIPLA explains that the Supreme Court’s review of both questions is critical at this juncture since to a large and increasing extent, IPRs are supplanting district court litigation as the forum for resolving issues of patent validity based on the prior art, and in proceedings below the Panel was split 2-1 with a vigorous dissent on both issues, and the Federal Circuit then split 6-5 in denying a petition for rehearing en banc.

CAFC Rejects Claim Construction on Plain Meaning when Context Leads to a Different Interpretation

The district court erred by relying entirely on the plain meaning of the claim where context-based interpretations were necessary. The Court held that the plural terms “intervals” and “remotes” in isolation could mean what must occur during each interval and what was applicable to all the remotes, but there was no requirement indicated in the remaining claim language or specification that at least one remote transmit and receive frames during at least one interval. The Court held that this evidence, together with other language in claim 21, and teachings in the specification, showed that each cycle in the claims must have intervals in which remotes were allowed to transmit.

CAFC Reverses Claim Construction on Operability Requirements of the Invention

The Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s claim construction, and held that the claim language does not require that the start and duration of remote-transmission intervals be communicated prior to the beginning of the cycle. St. Jude had not explained why, in accordance with the specification, it was not sufficient that a remote know roughly when to expect an upcoming cycle to begin, rather than its exact starting time, and why such interval information could not be communicated during a cycle. The Court postulated that a remote unit could power up its communications equipment for the entirety of a first cycle, receive interval information whenever it was transmitted, then only power up that equipment during its assigned interval for subsequent cycles.

Inline Plastics v. EasyPak: CAFC rules asserted claims not limited to a specific embodiment

Since the preferred embodiment did not have patentable characteristics that are distinct from other disclosed embodiments, the Court held that “the patentee [was] entitled to claim scope commensurate with the invention that [was] described in the specification.” The Court also held that the doctrine of claim differentiation was applicable here, since the “two severable score lines” limitation only appeared in a dependent claim but not in any independent claims. In other words, the presence of the “two severable score lines” limitation in a dependent claim gave rise to a presumption that such a limitation was not present in the independent claim.

PTAB must evaluate district court claim construction to determine whether it is consistent with BRI

Even though the Board is generally not bound by the district court’s construction of claim terms, it does not mean that “it has no obligation to acknowledge that interpretation or to assess whether it is consistent with the broadest reasonable construction of the term.” Here, given that PI’s main argument was the proper interpretation of the term “coupled,” which was construed by the district court, the Board had an obligation “to evaluate that construction and to determine whether it was consistent with the broadest reasonable construction of the term.” Because the Board failed to address the district court’s interpretation of the term “coupled” and failed to provide adequate explanation for its decision to reject the claims as anticipated, the Court reversed and remanded.

Overview of USPTO proposed rule changes to practice before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board

USPTO proposed rule changes would amend the existing rules relating to trial practice for inter partes review (IPR), post-grant review (PGR), the transitional program for covered business method patents (CBM), and derivation proceedings. By in large, the Office decided to stick with BRI, but not when the challenged patent will soon expire. The USPTO also adopted the comments from those who expressed satisfaction with the Board’s current rules and practices for motions to amend, which means there will be a right to file a motion to amend but no right to amend if these proposed rules go final.

Court Reverses Indefiniteness Under Nautilus; Design Patents for Surgical Shears are Valid

Ethicon sued Covidien in the Ohio district court for infringement of utility and design patents directed to ultrasonic surgical shear devices. The court granted Covidien’s motions for summary judgment, concluding that one patent was invalid as indefinite, that another patent was not infringed by Covidien’s products, and that several design patents were invalid as functional and were not infringed. Ethicon appealed the judgment to the Federal Circuit. The Federal Circuit reversed on indefiniteness, reversed the district court’s determination that Ethicon’s design patents were invalid as primarily functional, and vacated the summary judgment of non-infringement for a surgical shears patent.

Was the Federal Circuit Trying to Save Us from Ourselves in Williamson v. Citrix?

In Williamson v. Citrix, the Federal Circuit overruled its own precedent that there is a “strong” presumption that claim limitations that do not use the term “means” are not means-plus-function limitations. This change has been decried by practitioners who purposefully avoid the word “means” in order to avoid means-plus-function treatment of their functionally claimed elements. Means-plus-function claiming is an opportunity to be embraced, not a trap to be avoided. Invoking §112(f) and the associated scope of a means-plus-function limitation is largely in the control of the patent drafter.

Federal Circuit Review – Issue 56 – June 26, 2015

In this issue of the Federal Circuit Review: (1) A Patent Owner Must Show They Are Entitled to Amended Claims In an Inter Partes Review, Including in View Of All Prior Art of Record, and Known to the Patent Owner; (2) Federal Circuit Reverses Every E.D. Va. Claim Construction on Appeal in TomTom v. Adolph Mobile Tracking System Suit; and (3) Federal Circuit Overrule the “Strong Presumption” Embodied in § 112 para. 6 for Functional Limitations Expressed Without the Term “Means.”

Teva and What It Means for Apple v. Samsung and Design Patents

Two independent errors warrant reversal, but to be fair, the district court did not have the benefit of the Supreme Court’s decision in Teva. Now, the Federal Circuit has the opportunity to address the interplay of Teva with claim construction in design patents. This is a much needed clarification.

Supremes end Federal Circuit love affair with de novo review

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has had a very long love affair with de novo review, a standard whereby the reviewing appellate court can simply do whatever they want without giving any deference to the district court judge or the jury. It isn’t much of an exaggeration to say that the Federal Circuit does what they want, when they want, how they want, and they have rarely let the standard of review get in the way. That was until today. Assuming the Federal Circuit follows the Teva decision as they are supposed to and as they have mindlessly followed other recent Supreme Court decisions in Myriad, Mayo and Alice, the Federal Circuit’s application of the de novo review standard to everything will come to an abrupt end.

Nonprecedential Federal Circuit Decision Generates a Dissent

I would have to think that this decision, which required the Federal Circuit to construe claim terms, would have to be presidential in at least some ways, unless the outcome in this case will not have any implication for the claims themselves or the patent. I guess I just don’t understand the concept of a nonprecedential claim construction. I cannot fathom a nonprecedential order in a real property boundary dispute. The whole point of suing over real property is to get a decision that is binding. Patents are property and it strikes me that the definition of the metes and bounds of what is covered in the claim really has to be presidential. If it isn’t presidential what is the point? This type of disposition is what leads to patent claims being construed to mean one thing in one case and another thing in another case. It is frustrating.