October 04, 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 last three patent cases that were appealed from the district court level and decided by the Federal Circuit during the 36th calendar week of 2007. All opinions are precedential unless otherwise indicated.

Toshiba Corporation v. Juniper Networks, Inc. (09/06/2007, non-precedential): appeal of final judgment of non-infringement (affirmed); discussion of patents related to methods and devices to send communications across disparate types of networks. (U.S. Patent No. 5,835,710, entitled “Network interconnection apparatus, network node apparatus, and packet transfer method for high speed, large capacity inter-network communication”, U.S. Patent No. 6,343,322, entitled “IP over ATM system using control messages to set up cut-through paths or bypass pipes in routers”, U.S. Patent No. 6,598,080, entitled “Network interconnection apparatus network node apparatus and packet transfer method for high speed large capacity inter-network communication”, and U.S. Patent No. 6,341,127, entitled “Node device and method for controlling label switching path set up in inter-connected networks”); “[w]ithout the ability to resolve the import of various terms, we will follow the general course that if we affirm the district court’s construction of any appealed term in a particular claim, we may affirm the judgment of noninfringement as to that claim”; “[b]ecause the district court correctly construed at least one term in each independent claim, we affirm”

Automotive Technologies International, Inc. v. BMW of North America, Inc., et al. (09/06/2007): appeal of grant of summary judgment of invalidity of claims and summary judgment of noninfringement as to some defendants, with cross-appeal by two defendants for denial of motion for summary judgment of noninfringement (affirmed); discussion of patent related to crash sensors (U.S. Patent No. 5,231,253, entitled “Side impact sensors”); “[the] enablement requirement is satisfied when one skilled in the art, after reading the specification, could practice the claimed invention without undue experimentation”; “[i]t is the specification, not the knowledge of one skilled in the art, that must supply the novel aspects of an invention in order to constitute adequate enablement”; “Because we conclude that the asserted claims of the ’253 patent are invalid for lack of enablement, we affirm the decision of the district court granting summary judgment of invalidity. Because of that conclusion, the infringement appeal and cross-appeal are moot.”

Gillespie v. DYWIDAG Systems International, USA (09/06/2007): appeal of final judgment that asserted claims are literally infringed (reversed); discussion of two patents related to mine roof bolts (U.S. Patent Nos. 5,230,589 and 5,259,703, both entitled “Mine roof bolt”); “[p]recedent establishes that no deference is owed to the district court's claim construction or to any underlying factual findings predicate to construing the meaning and scope of the claims”; “[t]he words of a claim are generally given the ordinary meaning that they would have to a person of ordinary skill in the field of the invention … and are read in view of the specification, of which they are a part”; “[t]he public notice function of a patent and its prosecution history requires that a patentee be held to what he declares during the prosecution of his patent”; in reviewing claim construction in the context of infringement, the legal function of giving meaning to claim terms “always takes place in the context of a specific accused infringing device or process"; the appellate court modified the claim construction, and under the modified construction, literal claim construction could not be found, so the judgment of infringement was reversed


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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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