Judge Stark: Claim Construction Regarding Rollercoaster Brakes
Judge Joseph Farnan originally held a Markman hearing in Magnetar Techs. Corp. v. Six Flags Theme Parks Inc. on October 15, 2009. After Judge Farnan retired, the court reassigned the case and held another Markman hearing on April 14, 2011. The case involves technology for brakes on amusement park rides such as rollercoasters. Judge Stark has now issued an opinion construing the following claims:
- “fin extending from an underside of said car (and lengthwise of said car)”
- “change the spaced apart relationship”
- “as a function of velocity of the member between the arrays”
Magnetar Techs. Corp. v. Six Flags Theme Parks Inc., C.A. No. 07-127-LPS-MPT, at 9-16 (D. Del. Feb. 1, 2012).
The court also concluded that “material handling” (Plaintiff’s proposal) or “material handling car” (Defendant’s proposal) was not a limitation of the asserted claims. The phrase “material handling” appeared only in the preamble, and was not a claim limitation under Catalina Mktg. Int’l v. Coolsavings.com, Inc., 289 F.3d 801 (Fed. Cir. 2002), because:
- the preamble did not provide an antecedent basis to an element of the claim,
- the preamble was not “essential to understand limitations or terms in the claim body,”
- the preamble did not provide “additional structure or steps underscored as important by the specification,” and
- there was no “clear reliance on the preamble during prosecution to distinguish the claimed invention from the prior art.”
Magnetar Techs. Corp. v. Six Flags Theme Parks Inc., C.A. No. 07-127-LPS-MPT, at 6-9 (D. Del. Feb. 1, 2012).