The following case illustrates the difficulty in being able to predict the outcome of patent litigation. It also provides hints at improving ones patent drafting technique. During patent litigation, the claim terms are construed in light of (1) the plain meaning of the terms, (2) the specification and (3) the prosecution history among other things. [...]
Clear claim language is generally the primary goal of claim drafting. In the following case, the claim recited a means plus function limitation. These types of limitations appear to be broad but are limited to the specific structure disclosed in the patent application and linked to the function stated in the means plus function limitation. The means plus function limitation in the patent at issue recited “a release means for retaining” which is confusing because it is unclear whether the function is the release function or the retain function. The Court held that the claim is limited to structure related to both the release and the retain function. Court held: no infringement based on this claim construction. The point of this case is to follow the simple means plus function format of “means” followed by a function, preferably only one function.
One of the most important sections of a patent specification is the claims. The reason is that the claims define the metes and bounds of patent protection afforded under the patent. For example, the scope of patent protection afforded under a product claim that recites elements a, b and c extends only to a product [...]
The claims define the metes and bounds of patent protection afforded under a patent. The claims can be drafted in many different ways. For example, the claims can recite a method, an apparatus or a product by process. A method claim recites various steps which if performed would infringe the patent. An apparatus claim recites [...]
On August 17, 2006, the Federal Circuit decided Conoco, Inc., et al. v. Energy & Environmental International, L.C., et al., Fed. Cir., No. 05-1363, 8/17/06. The patent in suit relates to a drag reducing agents injected into oil and gas pipelines such that more liquid may be pumped more efficiently. The claim recited a process [...]