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Judge Andrews issues ruling on early claim construction of one term.

In a recent memorandum opinion, Judge Richard G. Andrews issued an early claim construction ruling on one term the defendant convinced the Court could be dispositive of the plaintiff’s literal infringement case. Volcano Corp. v. St. Jude Medical, Cardiovascular and Ablation Technologies Division, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 13-687-RGA (D. Del. Jan. 24, 2014). The Court construed that term, “flexible element,” as meaning “a coil,” rejecting the defendant’s argument that the term is a means plus function limitation. Id. at 4. The Court explained that “[w]hen the ’648 patent specification discusses flexibility, it is always in reference to a coil. Because the Court believes that the patentees’ invention was limited to the use of a coil, the term ‘flexible element’ is construed accordingly.” Id. at 8. The Court recognized that it “is a well understood canon of patent law that limitations from the specification generally should not be imported into the claim language,” but noted that where, as here, “a disputed term has no previous meaning to those of ordinary skill in the prior art[,] its meaning, then, must be found [elsewhere] in the patent.” Id. (quoting Irdeto Access, Inc. v. Echostar Satellite Corp., 383 F.3d 1295, 1300 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (alterations in original) (internal quotation marks omitted). The defendant pointed to various dictionary definitions of “flexible element” to show that the term did have a previous meaning to those of ordinary skill in the prior art, but the Court rejected that argument, explaining that “these examples do not relate to the field of art at issue in this case—pressure-sensing guide wires.” Id. at 9.

Volcano Corp. v. St. Jude Medical, Cardiovascular and Ablation Technologies Division, Inc., et al., C.A. No…

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