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2181

2181 Identifying a 35 U.S.C. 112, Sixth Paragraph Limitation [R-6]
 
AOYAMA

“The first step in construing a means-plus-function claim limitation is to define the particular function of the claim limitation.” Golight, Inc. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 355 F.3d 1327, 1333 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (citation omitted). “The court must construe the function of a means-plus function limitation to include the limitations contained in the claim language, and only those limitations.” Cardiac Pacemakers, Inc. v. St. Jude Med., Inc., 296 F.3d 1106, 1113 (Fed. Cir. 2002). . . .

“The next step in construing a means-plus-function claim limitation is to look to the specification and identify the corresponding structure for that function.” Golight, 355 F.3d at 1334. “Under this second step, structure disclosed in the specification is corresponding structure only if the specification or prosecution history clearly links or associates that structure to the function recited in the claim.” Med. Instrumentation & Diagnostics Corp. v. Elekta AB, 344 F.3d 1205, 1210 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (internal citation and quotation omitted).

In re Aoyama, 656 F.3d 1293, 1297 (Fed. Cir. 2011).

BUDDE
 
The first step in construing a means-plus-function claim limitation is to define the particular function of the claim limitation. Budde v. Harley-Davidson, Inc., 250 F.3d 1369, 1376 (Fed.Cir.2001).
 
CARDIAC
 
“The court must construe the function of a means-plus function limitation to include the limitations contained in the claim language, and only those limitations.” Cardiac Pacemakers, Inc. v. St. Jude Med., Inc., 296 F.3d 1106, 1113 (Fed.Cir.2002)
 
DEFAULT PROOF, BIOMEDINO, DONALDSON

Therefore, we agree with the Examiner that claim 1 is indefinite because at best, the human involvement required in the claim fails to describe non-human structure and/or material, which perform the functions recited by the "means". See Default Proof Credit Card System, Inc. v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 412 F.3d 1291 (fed. Cir. 2005), citing to In re Prater, 56 C.C.P.A. 1381, 415 F.2d 1393, 1398 (CCPA 1969) (“…a human being cannot constitute a “means”). The test is whether the Specification actually describes the structure that performs the claimed function. “If there is no structure in the specification corresponding to the means-plus-function limitation in the claims, the claim will be found invalid as indefinite.” Biomedino, LLC v. Waters Techs. Corp., 490 F.3d 946, 950 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (citations omitted); see also In re Donaldson Co., 16 F.3d 1189, 1195 (Fed. Cir. 1994) (en banc).

DOSSEL

DONALDSON

As stated in In re Dossel, 115 F.3d 942, 946 (Fed. Cir. 1997) (quoting In re Donaldson Co., 16 F.3d 1189, 1195 (Fed. Cir. 1994)), [a]lthough paragraph six statutorily provides that one may use means-plus-function language in a claim, one is still subject to the requirement that a claim “particularly point out and distinctly claim” the invention. Therefore, if one employs means-plus-function language in a claim, one must set forth in the specification an adequate disclosure showing what is meant by that language. If an applicant fails to set forth an adequate disclosure, the applicant has in effect failed to particularly point out and distinctly claim the invention as required by the second paragraph of section 112.

GOLIGHT 
 
Golight Inc. v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 355 F.3d 1327, 1333-34 (Fed. Cir. 2004).
 
INTEL

“[C]laim definiteness depends on the skill level of an ordinary artisan. Therefore, the specification need only disclose adequate defining structure to render the bounds of the claim understandable to an ordinary artisan.” Telcordia Techs., Inc. v Cisco Sys., Inc., 612 F.3d 1365, 1377 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (citing Intel Corp. v. VIA Techs., Inc., 319 F.3d 1357, 1365-66 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (holding that the internal circuitry of an electronic device need not be disclosed in the specification if one of ordinary skill in the art would understand how to build and modify the device) (internal citation omitted)).

MAS-HAMILTON

In this “arrangement for” is a nonce expression or verbal construct that is simply a substitute for the term “means for.” See e.g., Welker Bearing Co. v. PHD, Inc., 550 F.3d 1090, 1096 (Fed. Cir. 2008); Mas-Hamilton Group v. LaGard, Inc., 156 F.3d 1206, 1213-15 (Fed. Cir. 1998).

MED. INSTRUMENTATION
 
The next step in construing a means-plus-function claim limitation is to look to the specification and identify the corresponding structure for that function. “Under this second step, ‘structure disclosed in the specification is “corresponding” structure only if the specification or prosecution history clearly links or associates that structure to the function recited in the claim.’ ” Med. Instrumentation & Diagnostics Corp. v. Elekta AB, 344 F.3d 1205, 1210 (Fed.Cir.2003) (quoting B. Braun Med. Inc. v. Abbott Labs., 124 F.3d 1419, 1424 (Fed.Cir.1997)).
 
SAGE

Sage Prods., Inc. v. Devon Indus., Inc., 126 F.3d 1420, 1427-28 (Fed. Cir. 1997) (“[W]here a claim recites a function, but then goes on to elaborate sufficient structure, material, or acts within the claim itself to perform entirely the recited function, the claim is not in means-plus-function format” even if the claim uses the term “means.”).

YORK

The term “substantially” is often construed in patent claims as “largely but not wholly that which is specified.” See, e.g., York Products, Inc., v. Central Tractor Farm & Family Center, 99 F.3d 1568, 1572-73 (Fed. Cir. 1996).
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