A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware

Entries for tag: claim-construction

During the claim construction process, parties identify and offer constructions for claim terms. It is not uncommon for parties to dispute the meaning of words within those constructions but which do not appear in the claims themselves, leading to further refinement of positions during subsequent claim construction exchanges and briefing. Parties may be tempted to ask the Court to separately resolve these "construction within a construction" disputes. Judge Stark recently addressed such a request.

Claim Construction Meet and Confer Ends in the Usual Way
Claim Construction Meet and Confer Ends in the Usual Way Ein Gedenkbuch an das glorreiche Jahr 1866 in Wort und Bild, British Library, Unsplash

Last Friday, Judge Noreika ordered the parties in two separate actions to submit revised joint claim charts "identifying no more than a total of ten (10) terms to be argued at the [claim construction] hearing."

The Ongoing Struggle to Limit Terms

This represents a bit of an escalation in the Court's struggle to reduce the number of terms it construes, largely led by our newest Judges, Noreika and Connolly. Last year, Judge Noreika begin issuing her "now-standard post-briefing order directing the parties to meet and confer in an attempt to narrow issues prior to the …

Pill Bottle
Sharon McCutcheon, Unsplash

Judge Andrews on Friday accepted a defendant's argument that, during prosecution, the applicant had so clearly and unambiguously disclaimed the prior art that it warranted construing "comprising" as used in a claim element to mean "consisting essentially of"—a major narrowing of claim scope.

The claim involved an oral tablet that delivered multiple drugs, with a "barrier layer" between them. The barrier layer claim element included the word "comprising":

a barrier layer comprising hydroxyl propyl methyl cellulose 2910, polyoxyethylene glycol 400, polysorbate 80, and titanium dioxide . . .

The portion after "comprising" in the claim element matches the composition of a commercially-available barrier layer called "Opadry ®White (YS-1-7003)."

The Court found disclaimer based on …

In both common usage and patent drafting, "computer" has become shorthand for an incredibly broad range of hardware and software, across almost every possible technological space. The breadth of meaning attributable to that single word can be a challenge for litigants and courts working through issues of claim construction or other issues (e.g., Section 101 motions, in which references to concrete computer components can lift a patent out of abstractness, and references to generic components can doom it). On the one hand, "computer" is readily understood by almost everyone in a general sense; on the other, standing alone, it has no specific meaning.

Judge Noreika recently addressed the question of whether a claimed "'computer . . . to computationally' obtain, change, or calculate specified aspects of the radiation beam arrangement or weights" should be construed as a means-plus-function term under 35 U.S.C. § 112, ¶ 6 (pre-AIA).