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Sue L. Robinson: Construing Claims at Trial

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A recent decision by District Judge Sue L. Robinson sheds light on the Court’s supplemental claim-construction practice. In the underlying infringement litigation, the Court issued an opinion on, among others, the parties’ proposed constructions and summary judgment motions. By doing so, the Court recognized that several disputed terms could not be addressed in the summary judgment context.

This posture allowed the Court to explain its procedure for addressing claim construction at trial:

“The parties have identified several additional disputed terms that do not find context in the infringement and validity contentions before the court on summary judgment. There is a lack of agreement as to whether the additional terms need construction or may be given their ordinary meaning. Consistent with the court’s practice, the parties will present their respective constructions during trial and the court will make its claim construction decision prior to the case going to the jury.”

The Court continued:

“Absent notice regarding which claims remain in dispute, the court will instruct the jury that all terms not specifically defined by the court shall be given their plain and ordinary meanings.”

Tyco Healthcare Group, LP v. C.R. Bard Inc., C.A. No. 09-264-SLR (D. Del. Jan. 20, 2011) (Robinson, J.).

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