Chief Judge Holderman has instituted an operations plan in the event of a federal government shutdown. The Northern District will operate normally for the first two weeks of any shutdown. Should a shutdown continue longer than two weeks, the Northern District will operate with essential personnel as set forth by the United States Court’s Administrative Office. Here is the full text of Chief Judge Holderman’s statement:
To the People of the Northern District of Illinois,
Please be assured that here in the Northern District of Illinois, Clerk of the Court Mike Dobbins and I have conferred and have developed a plan for our court to deal in the short term with the contingency now facing us of Congress failing to pass the federal budget or to authorize another continuing resolution.
We will keep the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois open and functioning with only minor modifications in our procedures for at least two weeks if Congress fails to establish a budget to keep the United States Government functioning. If the shutdown continues longer than two weeks, the court will continue to operate with essential personnel as defined by guidelines issued by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.
We plan to continue to provide justice to the fullest extent possible and in the same excellent way as we have in the past. Thank you for your understanding.
Chief Judge James F. Holderman
Tanita Corp. v. Homedics-U.S.A, Inc., No. 08 C 7145, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Nov. 4, 2010) (Holderman, C.J.).
Judge Holderman construed the claims of plaintiff’s patent to a scale for measuring a person’s weight with a platform that had a clear outer layer so that instructions or warnings could be placed on the inner layer, but still be read by the user through the transparent outer layer. Of particular note, the Court construed the following terms:
- "Doughnut-shaped" meant a circular shape with a circular-type enclosed center opening." Plaintiff Tanita’s argument that it could be any shape with a center opening was not supported by the patent or dictionary definitions, which identified doughnuts as ring-like.
- The claim’s preamble was limiting because it stated the purpose or use of the invention and recited an essential part of its structure, a built-in weight meter.
The Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago will be holding its annual Patent Law Symposium October 1, 2010 beginning at 8:45 am at the Union League Club of Chicago. Presentations and panels include:
• Life Under the N.D. of Illinois Local Patent Rules and Jury Instructions — Northern District of Illinois Chief Judge, Presiding Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier and Allan Sternstein of Dykema Gossett
• Recent Developments In IP Law: The Year In Review — Edward Manzo of Husch Blackwell
• Mock Inventor Deposition — Timothy Delaney of Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione and Paul Vickrey of Niro, Haller & Niro
• Best Practices: Attorney-Client Privilege and Ethical Considerations in IP Transactions — Glen Belvis of Foroenergy
• Reexamination: Ex Parte and Inter Partes — Janet Garetto of Nixon Peabody (moderator), Joseph Berghammer of Banner & Witcoff and Jessica Harrison, PTO’s Central Reexamination Unit
• Patent Damages — Garret Leach of Kirkland & Ellis and Raymond Sims, Vice-President of CRA International
• Common Mistakes in Briefs and Arguments before the Federal Circuit and How to Avoid Them — Olivia Luk of Jenner & Block (moderator), the Federal Circuit’s Chief Judge Randall Rader, John Whealan, Dean at the George Washington University Law School, and Emily Johnson, Federal Circuit Law Clerk
The Symposium schedule is here. A cocktail reception will take place following the Symposium. Register here, $275 for members and $425 for non-members. Following the program, IPLAC will host its annual judges dinner with keynote speech by Judge Rader. Click here for registration information cost for members and non-members is $150.