Shen Wei (USA), Inc. v. Ansell Healthcare Prods., Inc., No. 05 C 6003, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. May 29, 2008) (Guzman, J.).
Judge Guzman construed the disputed claim terms from plaintiff’s patent for a skin-enhancing glove. The parties disputed two terms: dehydrated and dry. Defendants argued dehydrated meant removal of all water, while plaintiffs argued it meant removal of water, but not necessarily all water. Judge Holderman construed dehydrated as used in a related patent in an earlier suit between the parties, consistent with plaintiff’s proposed construction.* Because Ansell advanced the same construction in the present suit that it lost in the earlier suit before Judge Holderman, the Court held that collateral estoppel, or issue preclusion, prevented Ansell from arguing against plaintiff’s construction. The Court also noted that Judge Holderman’s construction was correct.
The Court construed "dry" in a similar fashion to mean removal of water, but not necessarily all water, based upon the prosecution history.
* I was involved in the briefing before Judge Holderman, but I am not involved in the current case.