Se-Kure Controls, Inc. v. Diam USA, Inc., No. 06 C 4857, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jun. 19, 2008) (Guzman J.)
Judge Guzman construed the disputed terms in plaintiff’s patent to a retail store security alarm system for portable devices. Of particular note, the Court held that a “retracting mechanism” was a means plus function element. While “mechanism” does not create a perception of means plus function language, the Court noted Federal Circuit precedent that “mechanism” generally lacked sufficient structure. And that held true in this case, as evidence by the fact that both parties identified structure from the specification that allegedly defined the claimed mechanisms.
The Court also provided a very useful summary of its constructions at the end of the opinion. The claim construction summary is an excellent writing device, like an executive summary, that substantially increases the ease of use of the opinion. Hopefully more courts will adopt Judge Guzman’s structure.