2111


See In re Am. Acad. of Sci. Tech. Ctr., 367 F.3d 1359, 1364 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (We determine the scope of the claims in patent applications not solely on the basis of the claim language, but upon giving claims their broadest reasonable construction in light of the specification as it would be interpreted by one of ordinary skill in the art.).

BIGIO
 
"[T]he PTO gives claims their 'broadest reasonable interpretation.'" In re Bigio, 381 F.3d 1320, 1324 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (quoting In re Hyatt, 211 F.3d 1367, 1372 (Fed. Cir. 2000)).
 
CORTRIGHT

"Although the PTO must give claims their broadest reasonable interpretation, this interpretation must be consistent with the one that those skilled in the art would reach." In re Cortright, 165 F.3d 1353, 1358 (Fed. Cir. 1999). See also In re Morris, 127 F.3d 1048, 1054 (Fed. Cir. 1997) ("[I]t would be unreasonable for the PTO to ignore any interpretative guidance afforded by applicant’s written description.").

GENENTECH
 
"The operative word is reasonable: the PTO has no such obligation regarding unreasonable interpretations." Genentech, Inc. v. Wellcome Found. Ltd., 29 F.3d 1555, 1565 n.22 (Fed. Cir. 1994).

Morris

“[T]he PTO applies to the verbiage of the proposed claims the broadest reasonable meaning of the words in their ordinary usage as they would be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art, taking into account whatever enlightenment by way of definitions or otherwise that may be afforded by the written description contained in the applicant’s specification.” In re Morris, 127 F.3d 1048, 1054 (Fed. Cir. 1997).

The USPTO is not required in the course of prosecution to interpret claims in the same manner as courts are required to during infringement proceedings. “It would be inconsistent with the role assigned to the PTO in issuing a patent to require it to interpret claims in the same manner as judges who, post-issuance, operate under the assumption the patent is valid.” In re Morris, 127 F.3d 1048, 1054 (Fed. Cir. 1997).

The question then is whether the PTO's interpretation of the disputed claim language is “reasonable.” Id. at 1055.

During examination, the PTO must interpret terms in a claim using "the broadest reasonable meaning of the words in their ordinary usage as they would be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art, taking into account whatever enlightenment by way of definitions or otherwise that may be afforded by the written description contained in the applicant’s specification." In re Morris, 127 F.3d 1048, 1054 (Fed. Cir. 1997).
 
Some cases state the standard as “the broadest reasonable interpretation,” see, e.g., In re Van Geuns, 988 F.2d 1181, 1184 (Fed. Cir. 1993), others include the qualifier “consistent with the specification” or similar language, see, e.g., In re Bond, 910 F.2d 831, 833 (Fed. Cir. 1990). “Since it would be unreasonable for the PTO to ignore any interpretive guidance afforded by the applicant's written description, either phrasing connotes the same notion: as an initial matter, the PTO applies to the verbiage of the proposed claims the broadest reasonable meaning of the words in their ordinary usage as they would be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art, taking into account whatever enlightenment by way of definitions or otherwise that may be afforded by the written description contained in the applicant's specification.” In re Morris, 127 F.3d 1048, 1054 (Fed. Cir. 1997).

Phillips

The Examiner must therefore “determine[] the scope of claims in patent applications not solely on the basis of the claim language, but upon giving claims their broadest reasonable construction ‘in light of the specification as it would be interpreted by one of ordinary skill in the art.’” Phillips v. AWH Corp. , 415 F.3d 1303, 1316 (Fed.Cir.2005) (emphasis added) (quoting In re American Academy Of Science Tech Center, 367 F.3d 1359, 1364 (Fed. Cir. 2004).
 
Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1321 ("The patent system is based on the proposition that the claims cover only the invented subject matter.");

Moreover, “the claims themselves provide substantial guidance as to the meaning of particular claim terms.” Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d [1310]1303, 1314 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc).
 
It is improper to read limitations into the claims from the specification. Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303, 1323 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc).
 
Prater

Reading a claim in light of the specification, to thereby interpret limitations explicitly recited in the claim, is a quite different thing from reading limitations of the specification into a claim, to thereby narrow the scope of the claim by implicitly adding disclosed limitations which have no express basis in the claim. In re Prater, 415 F.2d 1393, 1404-05, (CCPA 1969).

While claim terms are given their broadest reasonable interpretation during examination, that interpretation must be consistent with the specification. In re Prater, 415 F.2d 1393, 1404 (CCPA 1969).
 
See ACTV, Inc. v. Walt Disney Co., 346 F.3d 1082, 1088 (Fed. Cir. 2003) "While certain terms may be at the center of the claim construction debate, the context of the surrounding words of the claim also must be considered..."

ALTIRIS

“Unless the steps of a method actually recite an order, the steps are not ordinarily construed to require one.” Altiris Inc. v. Symantec Corp., 318 F.3d 1363, 1369 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (internal quotations and citations omitted).

A two-part test has been established for determining if the steps of a method claim that do not otherwise recite an order must nonetheless be performed in the order in which they are written. First, we look to the claim language to determine if, as a matter of logic or grammar, the recited steps must be performed in the order written. “If not, we next look to the rest of the specification to determine whether it ‘directly or implicitly requires such a narrow construction.”’ Altiris Inc. v. Symantec Corp. , 318 F.3d 1363, 1369-70 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (quoting Interactive Gift Express, Inc. v. CompuServe Inc. , 256 F.3d 1323, 1343 (Fed. Cir. 2001)) (emphasis in original). If not, the sequence in which such steps are written is not a requirement of the claim. Id.

BROOKHILL-WILK 1

Absent an express intent to impart a novel meaning to a claim term, the words take on the ordinary and customary meanings attributed to them by those of ordinary skill in the art. Brookhill-Wilk 1, LLC. v. Intuitive Surgical, Inc., 334 F.3d 1294, 1298 (Fed. Cir. 2003).
 
See also Brookhill-Wilk 1, LLC v. Intuitive Surgical, Inc., 334 F.3d 1294, 1300 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (citing Tex. Digital Sys. Inc. v. Telegenix, Inc., 308 F.3d 1193, 1203 (Fed. Cir. 2002)) (“If more than one dictionary definition is consistent with the use of the words in the intrinsic record, the claim terms may be construed to encompass all consistent meanings”).

CHEF AMERICA

Chef America, Inc. v. Lamb-Weston, Inc., 358 F.3d 1371, 1372 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (Ordinary, simple English words whose meaning is clear and unquestionable, absent any indication that their use in a particular context changes their meaning, are construed to mean exactly what they say.)


E-Pass


The challenge is to interpret claims in view of the specification without unnecessarily importing limitations from the specification into the claims. See E-Pass Techs., Inc. v. 3Com Corp., 343 F.3d 1364, 1369 (Fed. Cir. 2003).

Limitations appearing in the specification but not recited in the claim are not read into the claim. E-Pass Techs., Inc. v. 3Com Corp., 343 F.3d 1364, 1369 (Fed. Cir. 2003).
 
FERGUSON
 
It is the use of the words in the context of the written description and customarily by those skilled in the relevant art that accurately reflects both the “ordinary” and the “customary” meaning of the terms in the claims. Ferguson Beauregard/Logic Controls, Div. of Dover Res., Inc. v. Mega Sys., LLC, 350 F.3d 1327, 1338 (Fed. Cir. 2003).

INTELLICALL
 
See In re Paulsen, 30 F.3d 1475, 1480 (Fed. Cir. 1994) (inventor may define specific terms used to describe invention, but must do so “with reasonable clarity, deliberateness, and precision” and, if done, must “set out his uncommon definition in some manner within the patent disclosure' so as to give one of ordinary skill in the art notice of the change” in meaning) (quoting Intellicall, Inc. v. Phonometrics, Inc., 952 F.2d 1384, 1387-88 (Fed. Cir. 1992)).
 
LIEBEL

See Liebel-Flarsheim Co. v. Medrad, Inc., 358 F.3d 898, 910 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (the presence of a dependent claim that adds a particular limitation gives rise to a presumption that the limitation in question is not present in the independent claim).

MULTIFORM

Any special meaning assigned to a term “must be sufficiently clear in the specification that any departure from common usage would be so understood by a person of experience in the field of the invention.” Multiform Desiccants, Inc. v. Medzam Ltd., 133 F.3d 1473, 1477 (Fed. Cir. 1998).

Phillips

“[T]he words of a claim ‘are generally given their ordinary and customary meaning.’” Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303, 1312 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc) (internal citations omitted). The “ordinary and customary meaning of a claim term is the meaning that the term would have to a person of ordinary skill in the art in question at the time of the invention, i.e., as of the effective filing date of the patent application.” Id. at 1313.

While a general-usage dictionary can be helpful in understanding claim language, a general dictionary “cannot overcome art-specific evidence of the meaning of a claim term.” Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303, 1318, 1322 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (citations and internal quotations omitted).

Rapoport
 
Thus, the claim requires treatment of a chronic immune disease, and not a symptom of such a disease, for example the symptom of chronic fatigue in CFS. See Rapoport v. Dement, 254 F.3d 1053, 1059-60 (Fed. Cir. 2001) (noting that "‘treatment of sleep apnea[]’" was properly interpreted as limited to the underlying apnea itself; claim term did not include treatment of anxiety that can occur secondary to sleep apnea).

Superguide

We must be careful not to read a particular embodiment appearing in the written description into the claim if the claim language is broader than the embodiment. See Superguide Corp. v. DirecTV Enters., Inc., 358 F.3d 870, 875 (Fed. Cir. 2004).

VITRONICS

The claim construction analysis begins with the words of the claim. See Vitronics Corp. v. Conceptronic, Inc., 90 F.3d 1576, 1582 (Fed. Cir. 1996).
 
Zletz

When the specification states the meaning that a term in the claim is intended to have, the claim is examined using that meaning, in order to achieve a complete exploration of the applicant's invention and its relation to the prior art.In re Zletz, 893 F.2d 319, 321-22 (Fed. Cir. 1989).

2111.02 Effect of Preamble [R-3]

CATALINA

We also note that the nominal recitation to a “system” in the preamble does not limit the body of the claim as it only states the invention’s purpose or intended use. See Catalina Marketing Int’l, Inc., v. Coolsavings.com Inc., 289 F.3d 801, 808 (Fed. Cir. 2002).

Cf. Catalina Mktg. Int’l, Inc. v. Coolsavings.com, Inc., 289 F.3d 801, 809 (Fed. Cir. 2002) (“[T]he patentability of apparatus or composition claims depends on the claimed structure, not on the use or purpose of that structure.”).
 
Corning Glass Works

The effect preamble language is to be given is determined by reviewing the entirety of the Appellants’ disclosure to gain an understanding of what the Appellants actually invented and intended to encompass by the claim. See Corning Glass Works v. Sumitomo Electric, 868 F.2d 1251, 1257 (Fed. Cir. 1989).

KROPE 

The subject matter of claim 204 is not all magnetic particles; rather, claim 204 covers magnetic particles that are part of a mascara product. Therefore, the preamble serves to further define the structure of the article claimed. See Kropa v. Robie, 187 F2d 150, 152 (CCPA 1951).

Based on these facts, we determine that the preamble breathes life and meaning into the claim that provides completeness to the claim and thus must be considered a limitation of the claim. In re Wertheim, 541 F.2d 257, 269 (CCPA 1976) (citing Kropa v. Robie, 187 F.2d 150, 152 (CCPA 1951)).

PITNEY BOWES
 
If the claim preamble, when read in the context of the entire claim, recites limitations of the claim, or, if the claim preamble is necessary to give life, meaning, and vitality to the claim, then the claim preamble should be construed as if in the balance of the claim. Pitney Bowes, Inc. v. Hewlett-Packard Co., 182 F.3d 1298, 1305 (Fed. Cir. 1999).
 
Rowe

“[I]f the preamble merely state[s] a purpose or intended use and the remainder of the claim completely defines the invention independent of the preamble,” it does not constitute a limitation. Lipscomb’s Walker on Patents, 3rd Edition, Vol. 3, § 11.11 at p. 361 (citing Marston v. J.C. Penney Co., 353 F.2d 976, 986 (4th Cir. 1965)); see also Rowe v. Dror, 112 F.3d 473, 478 (Fed. Cir. 1997); Corning Glass Works v. Sumitomo Elec. U.S.A., Inc., 868 F.2d 1251, 1257 (Fed. Cir. 1989) (An element initially recited in the preamble is thereafter fully incorporated into the body of the claim so as to breathe life and breath into it by setting forth the complete combination).
 
ROWE

See also Rowe v. Dror, 112 F.3d 473, 478 (Fed. Cir. 1997) (noting that when the claim preamble recites structural limitations of the claimed invention, the USPTO must give effect to that usage).
 
STENCEL
 
“An intended use or purpose usually will not limit the scope of the claim because such statements usually do no more than define a context in which the invention operates.” Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. v. Schering-Plough Corp., 320 F.3d 1339, 1345 (Fed. Cir. 2003). Although “[s]uch statements often . . . appear in the claim's preamble,” In re Stencel, 828 F.2d 751, 754 (Fed. Cir. 1987), a statement of intended use or purpose can appear elsewhere in a claim. Id.
 
Sinex

Merely stating an intended use for an apparatus is not sufficient to distinguish the apparatus from the prior art. In re Sinex, 309 F.2d 488, 492 (CCPA 1962).

2111.03 Transitional Phrases [R-3]

AFG

“Consisting of” is a closed transitional phrase that is “understood to exclude any elements, steps, or ingredients not specified in the claim.” AFG Indus., Inc. v. Cardinal IG Co., Inc., 239 F.3d 1239, 1245 (Fed. Cir. 2001).


AK STEEL 

The phrase “consisting essentially of” in a patent claim “has long been understood to permit inclusion of components not listed in a claim, provided that they do not ‘materially affect the basic and novel properties of the invention.’” AK Steel Corp. v. Sollac, 344 F.3d 1234, 1239 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (citations omitted)

BOND
 
GENENTECH
 
Although the PTO emphasizes that it was required to give all “claims their broadest reasonable construction” particularly with respect to [the] use of the open-ended term “comprising,” see Genentech, Inc. v. Chiron Corp., 112 F.3d 495, 501 (Fed. Cir. 1997) (“the open-ended term comprising ... means that the named elements are essential, but other elements may be added”), this court has instructed that any such construction be “consistent with the specification, ... and that claim language should be read in light of the specification as it would be interpreted by one of ordinary skill in the art.” In re Bond, 910 F.2d 831, 833 (Fed. Cir. 1990).
 
GRAY

DAVIS

NORIAN

Appellant is their own lexicographer, and by using the transitional phrase “consist of,” Appellant has made a conscious choice to exclude systems that gather information from resources other than those listed. See In re Gray, 53 F.2d 520, 521 (CCPA 1931). While there are two exceptions to such exclusions, neither are applicable here. See Ex parte Davis, 80 USPQ 448, 450 (Bd. App. 1948) (impurities are not excluded); Norian Corp. v. Stryker Corp., 363 F.3d 1321, 1331-32 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (items unrelated to the group are not excluded).


De LAJARTE

HOFFMAN

However, the burden is on Appellants to show what the basic and novel characteristics are and how they would be materially changed by the ingredient of the reference sought to be excluded from inclusion by Appellants’ use of this term. See In re De Lajarte, 337 F.2d 870, 873-74 (CCPA 1964); Ex parte Hoffman, 12 USPQ2d 1061, 1063-64 (BPAI 1989).

Herz

"[T]he phrase 'consisting essentially of' limits the scope of a claim to the specified ingredients and those that do not materially affect the basic and novel characteristic(s) of a composition." In re Herz, 537 F.2d 549, 551-52 (CCPA 1976)(emphasis omitted)(quoting In re Janakirama-Rao, 317 F.2d 951 (CCPA 1963)).

“[C]laims are given their broadest reasonable construction consistent with the specification. . . . [A]n applicant who has not clearly limited his claims is in a weak position to assert a narrow construction. Therefore, in construing the phrase ‘consisting essentially of’ in appellants’ claims, it is necessary and proper to determine whether their specification reasonably supports a construction that would include additives such as [those in the prior art].” In re Herz, 537 F.2d 549, 551 (CCPA 1976).

LAMPI

However, consistent with the ‘390 Decision, we do not impart any specific structure from Figures 10A-12 as being required for the claimed channel or portion of the medical line to be “irregularly shaped.” See Crown Packaging Tech., Inc. v. Ball Metal Beverage Container Corp., 635 F.3d 1373, 1381 (Fed. Cir. April 1, 2011) (citing Lampi Corp. v. Am. Power Prods., 228 F.3d 1365, 1378 (Fed. Cir. 2000) (concluding that the embodiment drawings did not compel a conclusion that the written description is so narrowly tailored to be limited to the embodiments depicted in the drawings).

MANNESMANN

When the phrase “consisting of” occurs in the body of the claim, it limits only the element set forth in that
clause. Mannesmann DeMag Corp. v. Engineered Metal Products Co., Inc., 793 F.2d 1279, 1282 (Fed. Cir. 1986).

MARS

See Mars, Inc. v. H.J. Heinz Co., 377 F.3d 1369, 1376 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (transitional, open-ended terms “comprising” and “including” are synonymous).


PPG

Concerning the first issue and the claim term “consisting essentially of”, it is well settled that the term “consisting essentially of” is interpreted as allowing for the inclusion not only of those ingredients specifically recited, but also those that do not materially affect the basic and novel characteristics of a claimed invention. PPG Indus. v. Guardian Indus. Corp., 156 F.3d 1351, 1354 (Fed. Cir. 1998); 

2111.04 "Adapted to," "Adapted for," "Wherein," and "Whereby" Clauses [R-3]

Hoffer

The determination of whether a "whereby" clause or similar clause1 is a limitation in a claim depends on the specific facts of the case. Hoffer v. Microsoft Corp. , 405 F.3d 1326, 1329 (Fed. Cir. 2005). In Hoffer, the court held that when a "whereby’ clause states a condition that is material to patentability, it cannot be ignored in order to change the substance of the invention." Id.

1 See MPEP 2111.04 [R-3] stating that an "adapted to" clause is subject to a similar claim interpretation.

See the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) § 2111.04 citing Hoffer v. Microsoft Corp., 405 F.3d 1326, 1329 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (When a “‘whereby’ clause states a condition that is material to patentability, it cannot be ignored in order to change the substance of the invention.”).

2111.05   Functional and Nonfunctional Descriptive Material [R-9]

Gulack
 
Descriptive material is not entitled to patentable weight unless there is a functional relationship to the substrate. In re Gulack, 703 F.2d 1381, 1386 (Fed. Cir. 1983); Ex parte Nehls, 88 USPQ2d 1883, 1887-90 (BPAI 2008); Ex parte Curry, 84 USPQ2d 1272 (BPAI 2005) (nonprecedential) (Fed. Cir. Appeal No. 2006-1003, aff’d Fed. Cir. R. 36 June 12, 2006). Here, a data structure is only an arrangement of data that bears no functional relationship to the substrate (computer readable medium) that stores the data and it is not entitled to patentable weight.
 
“Where the printed matter is not functionally related to the substrate, the printed matter will not distinguish the invention from the prior art in terms of patentability. Although the printed matter must be considered, in that situation it may not be entitled to patentable weight.” In re Gulack, 703 F.2d 1381, 1385 (Fed. Cir. 1983) (footnote omitted). In dealing with printed matter, “the critical question is whether there exists any new and unobvious functional relationship between the printed matter and the substrate.” Id. at 1386.
 

KING

See In re Huai-Hung Kao, 639 F.3d 1057, 1072-73 (Fed. Cir. 2011) (“Just as in King Pharmaceuticals, the informing step does not ‘transform[ ] the process of taking the drug.’” (quoting King Pharm., 616 F.3d at 1279)).

Lowry
 
The Examiner need not give patentable weight to descriptive material absent a new and unobvious functional relationship between the descriptive material and the substrate. See In re Lowry, 32 F.3d 1579, 1582-1583 (Fed. Cir. 1994); In re Ngai, 367 F.3d 1336, 1338 (Fed. Cir. 2004). See also Ex parte Mathias, 84 USPQ2d 1276 (BPAI 2005) (nonprecedential informative), aff'd, 191 Fed.Appx. 959 (Fed. Cir. 2006);
 
Non-functional descriptive material refers to data content that does not exhibit a functional interrelationship with the substrate and does not affect the way the computing processes are performed. See MPEP § 2106.01. In a precedential decision, an expanded Board panel recently held that elements that do not affect the claimed process are non-functional material and are merely descriptive. See Ex parte Nehls, 88 USPQ2d 1883, 1887 (BPAI 2008) (precedential).
 
Ngai
 
Nonfunctional descriptive material cannot render nonobvious an invention that would have otherwise been obvious. In re Ngai, 367 F.3d at 1339.
According to current Office policy, computer programs per se are not considered patentable subject matter under §101, as they are in themselves purely non-functional descriptive constructs. See U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, Interim Examination Instructions for Evaluating Subject Matter Eligibility Under 35 U.S.C. § 101, Aug. 2009, at 2, available at http://www.uspto.gov/patents/law/comments/2009-08-25_interim_101_instructions.pdf.
Also see MPEP § 2106.01 (I), citing In re Warmerdam, 33 F.3d 1354, 1361 (Fed. Cir. 1994).
 
Warmerdam
 
Claims directed to data structures per se are non-statutory subject matter. In re Warmerdam, 33 F.3d 1354, 1361 (Fed. Cir. 1994).



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