Chapter Eight – Infringement

Chapter eight discusses the enforcement of patent rights through suits for patent infringement.  Without the ability to enforce patent rights against infringers there would be no incentive to seek patents, and thus no incentive to disclose discoveries to the public.  As a result, the Patent Act gives several causes of action against both direct and indirect infringers.

In order to determine whether a patent has been infringed, the precise scope of the patent’s claims must be determined in a process calledclaim construction.  As you will see, claim construction is often the focal point of an infringement case, and the district court’s claim construction is often appealed–and almost as often reversed by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.   As you read these cases, it may be helpful to go back to the patents at issue and retrace the claim construction rationale of the district and appellate courts.

 

Updates

  1. In a case involving the doctrine of equivalents and the doctrine of claim vitiation, the Federal Circuit affirmed a finding of noninfringement based on denying the application of the doctrine of equivalents.  Applied Medical Resources Corp. v. Tyco Healthcare Group LP (Fed. Cir. Aug. 27, 2013).  The court held that “[o]ur case law indicates that a finding of infringement under the doctrine of equivalents vitiates a claim limitation when the aspect of the accused device that allegedly meets that limitation represents a difference in kind from what is claimed in the limitation.”  For a similar case holding that vitiation did not apply, Deere & Co. v. Bush Hog, LLC (Fed. Cir. Dec. 4, 2012), reiterating that “Vitiation is not an exception to the doctrine of equivalents, but instead a legal determination that “the evidence is such that no reasonable jury could determine two elements to be equivalent.”

 

Additional Source Material