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.
Chief Judge Holderman recently gave the annual State of the Court address, concluding that the Northern District continues to be an active, growing district court. Civil case filings were up 6.2% from 2008 to 2009, and the Northern District remains in the top 10% of district courts for median time to disposition – 6.2 months.
The Court began 2009 with one vacant judgeship – created by Judge Filip’s March 2008 resignation. The Court ended 2009 with from after Judges Bucklo, Coar and Gettleman took senior status. In February 2010, Judge Manning also took senior status. Judge Feinerman was confirmed last month, reducing the vacant seats by one, but there could be five vacancies again at the end of July when Judge Anderson retires.
The magistrate bench was also active. Judges Ashman and Keys shifted to recalled status. Judges Finnegan, Gilbert and Kim joined the bench.
Finally, the number of registered e-filers is up 18% to over 25,000. And the daily filing rate is up 15% to an average 867 documents per day.