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“spaced relationship” held to be sufficiently definite

Biosig Instruments v. Nautilus, Case No. 2012-1289, Slip Op. (Fed. Cir. Apr. 26, 2013)

Biosig sued Nautilus for infringement of U.S. Pat. No. 5,337,753.  Claim 1 of the ‘753 patent was held to be invalid for indefiniteness by the trial court because the term “spaced relationship” was indefinite as a matter of law.  While the the trial court held that the term was amenable to construction, it determined that it was “insolubly ambiguous.”  The Federal Circuit reversed.

In particular, the Federal Circuit determined that the problems raised by the trial court dealt with breadth, and not definiteness.  For example, the trial court could not determine if 1 inch, or 1/2 inch would satisfy the claim term.  However, the Federal Circuit determined that the intrinsic record contained inherent parameters that would help a skilled artisan understand the boundaries of the term.

Motion for Reconsideration of Claim Construction Ruling Granted (N.D. Ill.)

Knowles Electronics v. Analog Devices, 11-CV-6804, Slip. Op. (ND. Ill. Feb. 19, 2013)(Lefkow)

Knowles Electronics sued Analog Devices for infringement of U.S. Pat. No. 8,018,049.  Judge Lefkow had originally construed “attaching a plurality of package covers” to require “attaching a layer comprising a plurality of interconnected package covers.”  Knowles filed a motion to reconsider under Rule 54, and, in this order, changed her construction to the far more intuitive “attaching more than one package cover.”

Claim Construction Order Entered in Kenall Manufacturing v. H.E. Williams (N.D. Ill.)

Kenall Manufacturing v. H.E. Williams, 9-CV-1284, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Feb. 1, 2013)

Kenall filed this suit against H.E. Williams alleging infringement of U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,984,055 and 7,494,241.  Both patents deal with light fixtures.

The Court construed the following terms in a 34 page opinion:

  • “modular (lighting fixture)”:  The term occurs in the preamble, which the Court determined was not limiting.
  • “isolated (raceway)”: Construed as “a distinct space for passing media – like wiring – within a light fixture that is separated along its entire length by some kind of physical barrier or means so that the wiring which runs through it is separated from the wiring that traverses another raceway.”
  • “housing”:  Construed as “a structure that supports or contains lighting fixture components.”
  • “endplate”:  Construed as “a structure for attachment to a lengthwise end of a light fixture housing.”
  • “sealing”:  Construed as “joining two structures in a manner that prevents the passage of fluids between the two structures.”
  • “mating:”  Construed as “fitting two parts together via corresponding shapes.”
  • “bridge:”  Construed as “a distinct structure adapted for coupling multiple housing by those housings’ endplates.”
  • “adapted for attachment to any one of” & “attachable to any one of”:  Construed as attachable to all of the items in the list following these terms.

Judge Hart Adopts All of NanoChem Solutions Proposed Claim Constructions

Nanochem Solutions v. Global Green Products, 10-CV-5686, Slip. Op. (N.D. Ill. Jan. 29, 2013)(Hart)

The parties were seeking to construe seven separate claim terms.  For example, the parties disputed the proper construction of the term “heating powdered L-aspartic acid to at least 370 degrees F to initiate a condensation reaction.”  While the use or non-use of a catalyst was not mentioned in the specification elsewhere in the intrinsic record, Global Green Products attempted to have this term construed as requiring the process occur without the use of a chemical catalyst.  Similarly, Global Green Products sought to have “indirectly heated plate drier” construed as the exact plate drier disclosed in a particular patents specification.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Judge Hart chose to adopt NanoChem Solutions proposed constructions for every one of the disputed terms.