Archive for the ‘Claim Construction’ Category

In re Cuozzo – Still no changes for the claim interpretation standard during inter partes review proceedings

Monday, July 13th, 2015

iStock_000040556240_SmallA guest post from Theresa Stadheim, attorney at Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner.

In In re: Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC, Appeal No. 2014-1301 (Fed. Cir. July 8, 2015, decision by Dyk), the Federal Circuit decided not to review the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) practice of construing patents under the broadest reasonable interpretation (BRI) standard.

Garmin petitioned the Board for inter partes review (IPR) of claims 10, 14 and 17 of Cuozzo’s U.S. Patent No. 6,778,074 (the ‘074 patent). Garmin contended that claim 10 was invalid as anticipated under 35 U.S.C. § 102(e) or as obvious under 35 U.S.C. § 103(a) and that claims 14 and 17 were obvious under § 103(a). Claim 10 recited:

A speed limit indicator comprising:
a global positioning system receiver;
a display controller connected to said global positioning system receiver, wherein said display controller adjusts a colored display in response to signals from said global positioning system receiver to continuously update the delineation of which speed readings are in violation of the speed limit at a vehicle’s present location; and
a speedometer integrally attached to said colored display.

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Pacing Technologies v. Garmin – D&D Explained

Friday, February 20th, 2015

disclaimer marked on rubber stampIn this decision—No. 2014-1396 (Fed. Cir., Feb. 18, 2015)—the court affirmed a grant of summary judgment (a copy can be found at the end of this post) that Garmin’s exercise products do not infringe the claims of Pacing’s US Pat. No. 8,101,843. The court reviewed the case de novo because the district court had relied entirely on the intrinsic evidence. The claims were directing to a systems comprising  “playback devices” that the judge ruled do not play target tempo or pace information as “audio, video or visible signals,” e.g., while the user is running.

The panel affirmed that the preamble should be given weight as a claim limitation because:

“[w]hen limitations in the body of the claim rely upon and derive antecedent basis from the preamble, then the preamble may act as a necessary component of the claimed invention.” Eaton Corp. v. Rockwell International Corp., 323 F.3d 1332 (Fed. Cir. 2003).

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TEVA v. SANDOZ – THE DISSENT AND THE ZONE OF UNCERTAINTY

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

In Teva v. Sandoz, decided yesterday by a 7-2 decision of the S. Ct., the lengthy dissent by Justices Alito and Thomas invoked the dreaded “zone of uncertainty” – a dangerous bar of shifting legal sands that defendants should not have to cross. This legal quicksand was recently invoked in Nautilus v. Biosig to justify raising the requirements of s. 112(2) from insolubly ambiguous to reasonably certainty, and has its roots in Markman and Festo, 535 U.S. 722, 731 (2002). Justice Thomas writes:

“So damaging is this unpredictability that we identified uniformity as an ‘independent’ reason justifying our allocation of claim construction to the court… The majority’s rule provides litigants who prevail in district court to take advantage of this uncertainly by arguing on appeal that the district court’s claim construction involved subsidiary findings of fact. At best, today’s holding will spawn costly [and meritless] – collateral litigation over the line between law and fact.” Slip. op. at 16 [dissent].

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Teva v. Sandoz: “Just the facts, Ma’am”

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Effectively reversing Cybor Corp., which flatly stated that a lower court’s claim construction is a question of law which is to be reviewed de novo by the Fed. Cir., yesterday the Supreme Court held 7-2 that questions of fact resolved by a district court prior to claim construction must be given deference by the Fed. Cir. and only reversed if clearly erroneous.

The basic dispute arose over whether or not the term “molecular weight” was adequately defined — it could be calculated three different ways — or if the information in the specification, including a graph showing the peak average molecular weight met the requirements of s. 112(2). The experts disputed a discrepancy between value shown on the graph’s legend and the value at the actual peak of the curve. Teva’s expert testified that difference was small and was due to the conversion of the data from a chromatogram to the m.w. distribution curve in the figure. The District Court agreed, but the Fed. Cir. rejected these factual findings, without explaining why it was “clearly erroneous.” The Supreme Court vacated the Fed. Cir’s. Judgment of s. 112(2) invalidity and remanded, thus endorsing a “clear error” and not a de novo standard for review.

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