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Chicago IP Litigation Tracking Northern District of Illinois IP Cases

Written Description is Not Satisfied Because an Examiner Allowed a Claim

Posted in Summary Judgment

Carrier Vibrating Equip., Inc. v. General Kinematics Corp., No. 10 C 5110, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Sept. 27, 2012) (Dow, J.).

Judge Dow granted defendant General Kinematics summary judgment of invalidity of claims 31 and 32 of plaintiff Carrier Vibrating Equipment’s (“Carrier”) patent related to controlling retention time of a casting on a vibratory conveyor for failure to comply with the written description requirement.  The claims at issue, which were not part of the original application, related to changing the magnitude of the vibratory force.  The written description requirement - that the application describes the claimed invention such that one of ordinary skill in the art that the inventor possessed the claimed invention.  Whether the patent meets the written description requirement is a question of fact.  The Court held that the patent taught modification of the angle of the vibratory force, but not the magnitude.  The fact that the Background of the Invention section mentioned that prior art systems vary conveying speed and direction by “changing either the direction or magnitude of a force” was not sufficient because the specification did not otherwise discuss changing the magnitude.  And it was not sufficient that the specification incorporated by reference a patent that taught changing the magnitude of the force.  Furthermore, the fact that the Patent Office allowed the claims at issue was not evidence that the written description requirement was meant.  The Court held that:

there is no reason for the Court to conclude that the PTO examiner’s decision deserves any more deference than the typical presumption of validity that must be overcome by clear and convincing evidence.