Fujitsu Ltd. v. Tellabs Ops., Inc., No. 09 C 4530, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jul. 27, 2012) (Holderman, C.J.).

Chief Judge Holderman construed an additional claim term “transmitting” one month before trial in this patent involving optical transmission systems.  “Transmitting” was used as an adjective modifying “terminal,” and as a verb describing

AmTab Mfg. Corp. v. SICO, Inc., No. 11 C 2692, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. March 29, 2012) (Darrah, J.).

Judge Darrah construed the disputed terms of the patent in suit related to a stool attaching to a folding table.  Of particular note, the Court held as follows:

  • “An elongate seat post having a substantially

Bergstrom, Inc. v. Glacier Bay, Inc., No. 08 C 50078, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Mar. 9, 2012) (Kapala, J.).

Judge Kapala accepted a Special Master’s claim constructions with some modifications in this case involving heating and cooling systems for over-the-road trucks.  The Court made the following holdings of particular note:

  • “Minimum speed” meant “a

Magna Carta Holdings, LLC v. Nextgen Healthcare Information Sys., Inc., No. 08 C 7406, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Mar. 9, 2012) (Kendall, J.).

Judge Kendall construed a key term in this patent litigation – the Comparator Term – after the parties each acknowledged that the Comparator Term’s construction would likely resolve the case.  The

Judge Guzman construed the claim terms in this patent case involving flameless candles. Of particular note, the Court held:
The Court adopted defendant’s (“ShopNBC”) constructions of “upper portion” and “lower portion” because plaintiff Winvic waived its arguments by failing to propose claim construction.
“The upper portion having a concave surface defining a recess therein” was construed as “the upper portion of the candle-like like body having a surface that is hollowed inward or rounded inward, regardless of whether the inward shape has curved or square edges, and thereby defining a recess therein.”
“Substantially in the recess” was construed as “a considerable degree within the limits of the recess.”
“Chamber” was construed as “a confined space.”

Continue Reading Flameless Candle Terms Construed

Judge Leinenweber construed the claims of the patent related to displaying a product selection on a website. Of particular note:
“Using a computer program via a global computer network comprising the steps” was construed as “performing each step of the method in the computer program via a global computer network.” While preambles generally are not limiting, this language was necessary to give “life, vitality and meaning to the claimant[s] and, therefore, was limiting.
“Steps” was defined as requiring that the steps be performed in sequential order. Logic required that the steps be performed sequentially and the specification supported the sequential requirement.
“Selecting” was construed as “to choose or make a choice, including moving a cursor into a box or area of the computer display screen containing depictions of fittings/features, which causes control to pass to an additional step.”
“Permutation” was construed as “a visually perceptible structural variation or visually perceptible variation affecting the operating characteristics, specifications, or functionality of the product.”
“Fitting” was construed as “a visually variable structural feature of a product or visually perceptible variation affecting the operating characteristics, specifications, or functionality of the product.”
“Generating a composite image of said selected product” was construed as “a computer processor carrying out the instructions of a computer program, taking into account the user’s selection input steps, to create a composite image.” The claims were not step-plus function claims because they did not use “step for” language and because “generating” contained an act.

Continue Reading Court Finds Claim Preamble Limiting

Wells-Gardner Elecs. Corp. v. C. Ceronix, Inc., No. 10 C 2536, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Apr. 14, 2011) (Hart, J.).
Judge Hart construed the term “flange” and granted defendant C. Ceronix summary judgment of noninfringement in this patent case involving flat panel television mounting frames. The Court held that “flange” as used in the claims was interchangeable with “bracket,” which C. Ceronix argued should be excluded from the definition of flange. In addition to the intrinsic evidence, the Court looked to dictionary definitions of flange.
C. Ceronix had brackets on the sides of the frame, but the brackets did not directly attach to the sides of the flat panel display as required by the claim. Instead the bracket attached at the back of the display. The doctrine of equivalents did not apply because allowing a flange that attached at the back not the side would vitiate the claim element.
The Court exercised its discretion to dismiss C. Ceronix’s claim for declaratory judgment of invalidity.

Continue Reading Doctrine of Equivalents Improper Where it Vitiates Claim Element

Morningware, Inc. v. Hearthware Home Prods., Inc., No. 09 C 4348, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Apr. 12, 2011) (St. Eve, J.).
Judge St. Eve granted defendant Hearthware’s motion for reconsideration holding that the claim term cooking enclosure required no construction. The Court originally construed “cooking enclosure” to mean “an oven housing and a metallic oven pan supported by a base.” The Court held that the instruction imported a claim limitation. Furthermore, the doctrine of claim differentiation required broader constructions because other independent claims that further defined the cooking enclosure as having a metallic oven pan as a base were made superfluous by the original construction.
The Court also held that Hearthware’s motion should have been brought pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b) which gives the Court authority to reconsider its interlocutory decisions, not Rule 59(e) which only applies once the Court has entered judgment.

Continue Reading Court Reconstrues “Cooking Enclosure”

Late Allergen Reduction, LLC v. Dynarex Corp., No. 10 C 129, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Apr. 21, 2011) (Bucklo, J.).
Judge Bucklo construed the claims in this patent infringement case involving a method of neutralizing protein allergens found in natural rubber latex. Here are constructions of note:
“The protein allergens” was construed to require that the method degrade all of the protein allergens in the latex, not just one or more protein allergens.
“Non-allergenic to humans” was construed as “the protein allergens contained within the natural rubber latex are degraded such that the natural rubber latex is incapable of producing an allergic reaction in any human . . . .” Plaintiff’s proposed construction requiring greatly reduced levels of allergens to “most humans” would render the claims indefinite.
“Non-transmissive” was construed as “an optical structure that reduces the transmission of radiant light to the greatest degree practicable consistent with the intended purpose.”
“A protease enzyme and a peptidase enzyme” was construed as requiring two separate enzymes, one being a protease and the other being a peptidase. It could not be a single enzyme of both types.

Continue Reading “The Allergens” Requires All Allergens Not Just One or More