disavowal : CAFC Alert

CAFC reiterates criteria for disavowal of broad claim scope based on patent’s disclosure and prosecution history.

| November 2, 2016

Poly-America, L.P. v. API Industries, Inc.

October 14, 2016

Before Prost, Reyna, and Hughes.  Opinion by Reyna


Infringement of Poly-America’s patent hinged on construction of “short seal” in claim 10.  Based on the specification and prosecution history, the district court adopted the accused infringer’s proposed construction, which incorporated structure described in the specification but not explicitly recited in the claim.  The CAFC affirmed, finding clear and unequivocal statements in the specification and prosecution history “that the inventor intended to limit the claimed invention to a trash bag with ‘short seals’ at its upper corners that extend inwardly to narrow the bag’s upper opening,” and thus disavowed a broader interpretation.

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CAFC reviews and applies the doctrine of claim construction

| February 11, 2012

Thorner v.  Sony    

February 1,  2012

Panel:  Rader, Moore, Aiken.  Opinion by Moore.


            The CAFC reverses a determination by the district court that there was no infringement because a limitation was improperly imported into the claim.  Because the district court improperly limited the term “attached to said pad” to mean attachment only to an external surface and erred in its construction of the term “flexible”, the CAFC vacated and remanded.

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