indefiniteness; claim construction; standard of review : CAFC Alert

Indefiniteness kills patent, as expert testimony cannot compensate for the failure of intrinsic evidence to provide a “reasonably certain” meaning to claim term.

| July 15, 2015

Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc.

June 18, 2015

Before: Moore, Mayer, Wallach. Opinion by Moore. Dissent by Mayer.


The validity of Teva Pharmceuticals’ patent hinged on the definiteness of the term “molecular weight”. Under a the old “insolubly ambiguous” standard, the Federal Circuit had determined once before that the term was indefinite. The Supreme Court vacated this indefiniteness determination in Teva Pharm. USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 831 (2015) (Briefed by John Wang  ). The Federal Circuit was found to have erred by not giving proper deference to the lower court’s factual findings in construing the term “molecular weight”. Teva Pharmaceuticals’ short-lived victory lasted until the Federal Circuit once again reached the same conclusion that the term “molecular weight” was indefinite, this time under the new “reasonably certain” standard of Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2120 (2014).

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