ThomasBrown : CAFC Alert

Prior Art Reference Must Disclose Arrangement of Elements, Not Merely Each Discrete Element

| March 20, 2013

SynQor, Inc., v. Artesyn Technologies, Inc., et al.

March 13, 2013

Panel:  Rader, Lourie and Daniel (Chief District Judge).  Opinion by Rader.


SynQor sued Artesyn Technologies, Inc., and eight other power converter manufactures (Defendants) for infringement of five of SynQor’s U.S. Patents in the United States District Court (“DC”) for the Eastern District of Texas.  The DC granted partial summary judgment of infringement of against the Defendants.  The DC denied Defendants’ motion for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) or a new trial after the jury found all asserted claims infringed, not invalid, and awarded lost-profits of $95 million.  On appeal, the CAFC affirmed the DC based on a review of the record evidence.

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Means-Plus-Function: The Achilles’ Heel

| May 9, 2012

Noah Systems, Inc. v. Intuit, Inc.

April 9, 2012

Panel: Rader, O’Malley and Reyna. Opinion by Judge O’Malley


This decision illustrates that a patent could become invalidated even after surviving challenges of reexamination, which strengthen the presumption of validity, when a challenger discovers the Achilles’ Heel of a means-plus-function claim element resulting in a summary judgment of invalidity by the CAFC.   Noah appeals the granting, by the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (DC), of Intuit’s Motion for Summary Judgment of Invalidity of USP 5,875,435 (the ‘435 patent) based on indefiniteness for a means-plus-function claim element without the DC hearing evidence of how one of skill in the art would view the specification.  The CAFC affirms by finding that the specification discloses no algorithm when the specification discloses an algorithm that only accomplishes one of two identifiable functions performed by the means-plus-function limitation.

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