11/12/2014
 
 
 
By: Jesus Hernandez, Blog Editor/Contributor 
 
TitleWilliamson v. Citrix Online, LLC, No. 2013-1130 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 5, 2014).
Issues
[1: Claim Construction] [T]he district court issued a claim construction order, construing, inter alia, the following limitations of independent claims 1 and 17: “graphical display representative of a classroom” and “first graphical display comprising...a classroom region” (collectively, the “graphical display” limitations). The district court held that these terms require “a pictorial map illustrating an at least partially virtual space in which participants can interact, and that identifies the presenter(s) and the audience member(s) by their locations on the map.”
Williamson at *8.
[2: Means-Plus] [T]he district court also concluded that the limitation of claim 8, “distributed learning control module,” was a means-plus-function term under 35 U.S.C. § 112, para. 6. The district court then evaluated the specification and concluded that it failed to disclose the necessary algorithms for performing all of the claimed functions.
Id. at *8.
Holdings
[1: Claim Construction] [W]e conclude that the district court incorrectly construed the graphical display terms to have a “pictorial map” limitation [because the e claim language itself contains no such limitation, and there is nothing in the intrinsic record to warrant narrow construction].
Id. at *11.
[2: Means-Plus] The district court here failed to give weight to the strong presumption that 35 U.S.C. § 112, para. 6, did not apply based on the absence of the word “means.” […] [I]n determining that the strong presumption was overcome, the district court erred: (1) in failing to appreciate that the word “module” has a number of dictionary meanings with structural connotations; (2) in placing undue emphasis on the word “module” separate and apart from the claimed expression “distributed learning control module”; and (3) in failing to give proper weight to the surrounding context of the rest of the claim language and the supporting text of the specification in reaching the conclusion that the drafter employed means- plus-function claiming.
Id. at *14.
 
 
 
06/18/2014
Category: 112 - Means Plus   
 
 
 
By: Jesus Hernandez, Blog Editor/Contributor 
 
TitleTriton Tech. of Tex., LLC v. Nintendo of Am., No. 2013-1476 (Fed. Cir. June 13, 2014).
IssueEach asserted claim [in the ‘181 patent] recites an “integrator means.” The district court held that this term rendered the asserted claims indefinite [because the ’181 patent broadly discloses using “numerical integration,” without specifying a class of algorithms that can be used to calculate definite integrals].
Triton Tech. of Tex., LLC at *3 (text added).
HoldingWe affirm the district court’s determination that the asserted claims of the ’181 patent are indefinite because the specification does not disclose an algorithm for performing the claimed integrating function of the “integrator means.”
Id. at *6.
 
 
 
04/17/2014
Category: 112 - Means Plus  
 
 
 
 By: John Kirkpatrick, Contributor 
 
TitleElcommerce.com v. SAP AG, No. 2011-1369 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 24,2014).
IssueSAP argued [...] that the means-plus-function terms in [U.S. Patent No. 6,947,903 ("the ’903 patent")] do not have supporting “structure or acts” in the specification, [and, therefore,] SAP could satisfy its burden on indefiniteness without expert testimony or other evidence of the existing knowledge in the field of the invention. SAP urged that Federal Circuit precedent does “not require” such evidence, citing [a prior case stating] that “the testimony of one of skill in the art cannot supplant the total absence of structure from the specification.”
Elcommerce.com at *20-21 (text added, internal citations omitted).
HoldingsWithout evidence, ordinarily neither the district court nor this court can decide whether, for a specific function, the description in the specification is adequate from the viewpoint of a person of ordinary skill in the field of the invention. We do not of course hold that expert testimony will always be needed for every situation; but we do hold that there is no Federal Circuit or other prohibition on such expertise.
Id. at *29 (citation removed).
 
 
 
 
01/20/2014
Category: 112 - Means Plus  
 
 
 
 By: John Kirkpatrick, Contributor 
 
TitleVistan Corp. v. FIDEI USA, Inc., No. 13-1216, -1217 (non-precedential) (Fed. Cir. Dec. 3, 2013).
Issue"[W]hether the disclosure of a “mechanical linear actuator” in the [U.S. Patent No. 5,870,949] specification is a sufficient description of structure that 'one skilled in the art will know and understand what structure corresponds' to the claim limitations."  Vistan, at *6, 7 (text added, citation removed).
Holding"The evidence makes clear that a person of ordinary skill in the art would understand mechanical linear actuators to be a distinct and identifiable class of actuators."  Id. at *6.
 
10/23/2013
 
 
 
By: Jesus Hernandez, Blog Editor/Contributor  
 
TitleIbormeith IP, LLC v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, No. 2013-1007 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 22, 2013).
Issue"To comply with section 112(f), the specification of Ibormeith’s patent has to disclose a structure for performing the functions claimed in the “computational means” limitation, the statute providing that the claim limitation covers that disclosed structure and its equivalents. If there is no such structure, the claim limitation is indefinite, i.e., fails to “particularly point[] out and distinctly claim[]” the invention, because there is insufficient definition of something that, by virtue of section 112(f), is incorporated into the claim."
Ibormeith IP, LLC at *5.
Holding"[Based on the binding admission of the patentee's own expert witness that the addition algorithm of the specification is only a general template encompassing many weighting operations] […] the two figures [of the specification] provide raw circadian information that a person of ordinary skill in the art could use to design his or her own method of weighting. A description of an algorithm that places no limitations on how values are calculated, combined, or weighted is insufficient to make the bounds of the claim understandable."
Id. at 11-23 (text added).
 
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