Trading Techs. Int’l, Inc. v. eSpeed, Inc., No. 04 C 5312, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jan. 2, 2007) (Moran, Sen. J.).*
Judge Moran denied defendants’ (collectively “eSpeed”) motion for judgment as a matter of law that plaintiff Trading Technologies’ (“TT”) patent was invalid for indefiniteness based upon the claim term “single action of a user input device” (“Single Action”). The Court previously construed Single Action as “an action by a user within a short period of time that may comprise one or more clicks of a mouse button or other input device.” Before trial, the Court used the definition to exclude evidence regarding a Tokyo Stock Exchange (“TSE”) software package that required double clicking, entering a quantity and pressing “enter” – click here for the Blog’s discussion of that opinion.
TT argued that the phrases “one or more clicks” and “short period of time” in the Court’s construction were indefinite because they did not sufficiently delineate the scope of the term. The Court noted that it did not need absolute clarity to define a claim term and held that the Single Action was sufficiently definite. The Court reasoned that it had been able to construe the term based largely upon the specification. And neither “one or more clicks” nor “short period of time” rendered the claim indefinite because the phrases are part of the definition, not the claim language.
Additionally, the terms were designed to be less than precise because Single Action is defined from the perspective of the individual user, not objectively for all users. The Court gave the example that an experienced trader might set a double click as two clicks occurring within .3 seconds of each other – which would be a Single Action – while a novice trader might set a double click as any two clicks within one second of each other – which would be a Single Action for the novice, but not the experienced trader. Creating a more fixed definition based on an average user would import limitations into the claim.
Finally, the fact that the Court was able to determine that the TSE software did not require only a Single Action further proved that Single Action was sufficiently definite.