January 29, 2007

I will periodically post case citations from the Federal Circuit along with the date of the opinion/order and a brief list of the legal topics discussed therein (specifically those with additional embedded case law citations). My goal is to post new cases on a weekly basis. This posting covers the first four patent cases that were appealed from the district court level and decided by the Federal Circuit during the fourth calendar week of 2007. All opinions are precedential unless otherwise indicated.

VAS-CATH, Inc. v. Curators of the University of Missouri, et al. (01/23/2007): appeal of a dismissal of appeal of the USPTO in an the dismissal of its appeal in an interference proceeding, Eleventh Amendment not shielding the University from appeal of the USPTO’s decision, request and participation in an interference proceeding before the USPTO acting as a waiver of its constitutional immunity in the proceeding and the appeal, discussion of interference proceedings under 35 U.S.C. § 135 and appeals under 35 U.S.C. § 146, University seeking recourse to the USPTO tribunal for adjudication of claim of prior inventorship negates assertion of immunity to bar appeal

MBO Laboratories, Inc. v. Becton, Dickinson & Company (01/24/2007) (erratum: LINK): appeal of summary judgment of noninfringement, discussion of patent relating to the design of a hypodermic safety syringe (U.S. Patent No. RE 36,885, “Safety needle system assuring hazard-free handling after needle contamination”), discussion of claim construction for several terms including “immediately,” “relative movement,” “adjacent,” and “proximity”; discussion of sources of information to determine claim language meaning (patent specification, prosecution history, and extrinsic evidence, reviewed in that order), error to read specific claim limitation into a claim when no “textual reference in the actual language of the claim with which to associate a proffered claim construction”

Logan, Jr., et al. v Hormel Foods, Inc., et al. (01/25/2007, non-precedential): appeal of final judgment granting summary judgment of noninfringement, discussion of patent relating to a spirally sliced meat product (U.S. Patent No. RE 35,374, “Spirally sliced boneless meat product”), claim construction of “support member in the meat” used to create an axis for the spiral slicing of the meat to occur, language in the patent specification and the prosecution history considered over dictionary definitions, affirmation of summary judgment even though claim construction was revised

Adrain v. Superchips, Inc., et al. (01/25/2007, non-precedential) (erratum: LINK): appeal of judgment in favor of multiple defendants for noninfringement, discussion of a patent relating to an apparatus and method for modifying a vehicle engine control module (ECM) (U.S. Patent No. 5,523,948, “Apparatus and method for modifying control of an originally manufactured engine control module”), the prosecution history of an earlier patent in the same family applying “with equal force to subsequently issued patents that contain the same claim limitation,” claim construction to require the apparatus to remain in the vehicle once initially used (accused devices reprogram the ECM and are subsequently disconnected from the vehicle)


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Mark Reichel
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I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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