mandate rule : CAFC Alert

Reissue cannot modify Claim Construction determined for repeated Original Patent Claims

| June 3, 2015

ArcelorMittal France v. AK Steel Corp. et al.

May 12, 2015

Before: Dyk, Wallach and Hughes.  Opinion by Hughes.


ArcelorMittal had filed suit on the ‘805 patent against the appellees.  However, the construction of a key term “very high mechanical resistance” was unfavorable to ArcelorMittal and a jury subsequently found the claims of the ‘805 patent not infringed and invalid.  During appeal of the decision ArcelorMittal filed a Reissue application at the USPTO which included a new dependent claim with a broader construction of “very high mechanical resistance” than that construed during the judicial action.  The CAFC affirmed the District Court’s claim construction but remanded the case on other grounds.

ArcelorMittal filed new suits based on the Reissue patent, but the District Court granted Summary Judgment invalidating the claims on the basis that the term “very high mechanical resistance” was earlier construed  during the ‘805 litigation narrower than the subsequent claims of the Reissue patent.  The CAFC affirmed the District Court asserting that under the law-of-the-case-doctrine and mandate rule, ArcelorMittal could not use the Reissue process at the PTO to broaden construction after the decision on the ‘805 patent.

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