functional claiming : CAFC Alert

“Strong Presumption” Not So Strong After all

| June 25, 2015

Williamson v. Citrix

June 16, 2015

Opinion by Linn (joined by nine other Judges), Dissenting Opinion by Newman-Decided.


En banc CAFC expressly overrules the “strong” presumption that a limitation lacking the word “means” is not subject to § 112, para. 6 and applies the presumptions prior to Lighting World, which do not require any heightened evidentiary showing. CAFC also overrules the strict requirement of “a showing that the limitation essentially is devoid of anything that can be construed as structure.”
When a claim term does not recite the word “means,” the presumption can be overcome and § 112, para. 6 will apply if one demonstrates that the claim term fails to “recite sufficiently definite structure” or recites “function without reciting sufficient structure for performing that function.” That is, the standard is “whether the words of the claim are understood by persons of ordinary skill in the art to have a sufficiently definite meaning as the name for structure.”

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