Is there a limit to the number of claims a district court will construe? Yesterday, a Delaware District Judge issued a claim construction opinion addressing that question. The Court, faced with the prospect of interpreting ninety-nine claim terms, sua sponte limited the scope of its opinion:
While a general interest in the terms of the patent is understandable, I cannot, consistent with my judicial responsibilities, answer questions that may be of no more than academic interest. Therefore, I have endeavored to construe only those terms that, based on the papers submitted, appear to be dispositive of issues brought to my attention. Ampex Corp. v. Eastman Kodak Co., C.A. No. 04-1373-KAJ, Memo. Op. at 1, n.1 (D. Del. Oct. 26, 2006). Given the increased awareness of Federal Circuit reversal rates of multi-claim decisions, perhaps the Court’s action is a signal to the bar – the less claims, the better.