July 02, 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 four patent cases that were appealed from the district court level and decided by the Federal Circuit during the 26th calendar week of 2007. All opinions are precedential unless otherwise indicated.

Microstrategy Incorporated v. Business Objects Americas (Successor by merger to Crystal Decisions, Inc.) (06/25/2007, non-precedential): appeal of grant of summary judgment of noninfringement of claims of one patent and summary judgment of invalidity of claims of two other patents (affirmed); discussion of three patents related to business intelligence software to assist users in making their business decisions (U.S. Patent No. 6,279,033, entitled “System and method for asynchronous control of report generation using a network interface”, U.S. Patent No. 6,567,796, entitled “System and method for management of an automatic OLAP report broadcast system”, and U.S. Patent No. 6,658,432, entitled “Method and system for providing business intelligence web content with reduced client-side processing”); technical reason (within the two claims of the ‘033 patent) for affirming noninfringement of that patent; a court can only correct an error in a patent if “(1) the correction is not subject to reasonable debate based on the consideration of the claim language and the specification and (2) the prosecution history does not suggest a different interpretation of the claims”; “[i]n the absence of any evidence to the contrary, [the Federal Circuit] must presume that the use of these different terms in the claims connotes different meanings”; example of the presence of an ambiguous claim term rendering the claims invalid; patentee failed to raise genuine issues of material fact regarding the invalidity arguments of two of its patents

Young v. Lumenis, Inc. (06/27/2007): appeal of judgment holding specific claims of patent at issue as being invalid as indefinite under 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 2, and summary judgment that the patent is unenforceable for inequitable conduct. (both reversed); discussion of patent related to surgical methods for declawing cats (U.S. Patent No. 6,502,579, entitled “Laser onychectomy by resection of the redundant epithelium of the ungual crest”); the purpose of the definiteness requirement is to “ensure that the claims delineate the scope of the invention using language that adequately notifies the public of the patentee’s right to exclude”; defendant did not prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that the claims are invalid for indefiniteness, noting that the claim language and the specification make clear that the claim term “near” has support within the specification; “[i]nequitable conduct includes affirmative misrepresentation of material fact, failure to disclose material information, or submission of false information coupled with an intent to deceive”; error in granting summary judgment of inequitable conduct as the office action response statements made were not misrepresentations of material fact and there was no failure to disclose information while the reexamination proceeding on the patent was still pending before the USPTO

The Saunders Group, Inc. v. Comfortrac, Inc., et al. (06/27/2007): appeal of grant of summary judgment of noninfringement on the ground that the devices did not have an element (a pressure activated seal) as required by the claims (reversed and remanded); discussion of patent related to cervical traction devices (U.S. Patent No. 6,899,690, entitled “Portable cervical traction device”); “[e]ven where a patent describes only a single embodiment, claims will not be read restrictively unless the patentee has demonstrated a clear intention to limit the claim scope”; “the doctrine of prosecution disclaimer generally does not apply when the claim term in the descendant patent uses different language”; summary judgment reversed because the district court’s claim construction was erroneous

Leggett & Platt, Incorporated, et al. v. VUTEk, Inc. (Order) (06/27/2007, non-precedential): motion pending to dismiss appeal for lack of final judgment, which has been opposed; initial suit was for infringement of one patent, with counterclaims for declaratory judgments of noninfringement and invalidity; district court granted summary judgment for invalidity of asserted claims but did not decide outstanding motions on infringement; request to certify (Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b)) was denied; district court granted relief on counterclaim seeking declaratory judgment on invalidity, but stated no disposition on the remaining counterclaim; appeal dismissed because there is no final judgment on all claims for relief


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