District Court Must Provide Underlying Reasoning For “Exceptional Case” Determination

PatentLawPic363Innovation Technologies v. Splash! Medical Devices (Fed. Cir. 2008)

Innovation holds a patent for washing flesh wounds (U.S. Pat. No. 5,830,197) and sued Splash for infringement. In the midst of discovery (but before a Markman hearing) Innovation decided to end the litigation and executed a covenant not to sue Splash. Before dismissing the case, the district court awarded $140k in attorney fees to the accused infringer — finding the case “exceptional” because Innovation knew or should have known “that its infringement claims were baseless.”  Innovation left the district court with the impression that “the lawsuit was filed solely for the purpose of harassing a small competitor.”

In its decision, the district court provided only three sentences of legal conclusion without listing the factual basis for finding the case exceptional. [District Court Decision]

On appeal, the CAFC vacated in an opinion that reads like a reprimand. Quoting extensively from earlier opinions, the appellate panel demanded that lower court spell out the particular reasons why a case should be found exceptional:

‘“A district court must provide reasoning for its determination that a case is exceptional for us to provide meaningful review. Further, an exceptional case finding is not to be based on speculation or conjecture but upon clear and convincing evidence.” Stephens v. Tech Int’l, Inc., 393 F.3d 1269, 1276 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (citations omitted). . . .

This court could itself comb the record and answer those questions. That is not the normal appellate function, however, and we conclude that the proper practice here is for the district court initially to make the necessary findings on these issues. “[W]hen findings are required on the exceptional case issue such finding must initially be the province of the district court.” Consol. Aluminum Corp., v. Foseco Int’l Ltd., 910 F.2d 804, 814 (Fed. Cir. 1990). . .

Accordingly, the district court’s determination that this is an exceptional case and its award of attorneys fees are vacated, and the case is remanded to that court to make additional findings in accordance with this opinion. . . . If the court again concludes that this is an exceptional case and that it should award attorneys fees, it should also explain the reasons for the latter conclusion.

Vacated and Remanded.

56 thoughts on “District Court Must Provide Underlying Reasoning For “Exceptional Case” Determination

  1. Back again folks: One in four (Rabbit’s measure of the insurance risk, in the USA) is no better than random. Infringement and validity is a 2 x 2 matrix in which patentee wins, one time in four. Insurance companies won’t bet on random numbers, I agree.

    My point is that insurance companies are willing to underwrite in England, when David has a strong case on both infringement and validity, but not in the USA, and that says something about relative levels of legal uncertainty in the USA. Plenty of trolls rely on that high level of legal uncertainty, but only in the USA. I’m only offering the subversive thought that: it doesn’t have to be that way. Look at England.

  2. Max,

    Rabbit has a point that you have ignored. No insurance company in the US will underwrite patent litigation.

    Therefore, as I stated earlier, I believe social and economic justice argues against loser pays. Which is not to say that there aren’t arguments for it.

  3. Re Loser pays:
    “I had in mind England … I wasn’t imagining it could fly present day in USA.”

    You are back peddling. You’ve been recommending “loser-pays” for the USA for a long time, but now you are singing a different tune.
    I agree with you that “Wragge & Co are not crazy.” However, your notion that any British insurance company would underwrite patent litigation fees as you suggest is.

    Face it Max, you’ve been caught blowing smoke yet again.

  4. Rabbit how right you are, with your math, for present conditions, in the USA? I had in mind England, and a case where big corp is evidently inside the scope of a claim not evidently invalid. Big corp continues(as big corp tends to do) only because it thinks David has not enough money to fight. If the patent owner had a deep pocket, in England, it would settle. Now, the risk of losing is lower than 1 in 4. The cost at risk is lower than 3m. Wragge is a firm with a high reputation. Fact is that they peddled this scheme. I imagine they still do. I wasn’t imagining it could fly present day in USA, merely espousing it as something possible, in an unbroken patent litigation jurisdiction, to the great advantage of impecunious patent-owning would-be litigants with a solid case. The main difference between England and the US is that what decides cases in England is simply 1) is the accused embodiment inside the simple plain meaning of the claim and 2) is that claim clear of the art. It ain’t rocket science and it is transparent, and Wragge & Co are not crazy.

  5. Max,

    With all due respect, I find it hard to believe that you are serious. The basis you propose for your “loser pays” propaganda is ludicrous and a pathetic attempt to sell your anti-self-employed inventor agenda. No one with an ounce of sense would be fooled by your incessant “loser pays” crap.

    Re:
    “Mr Hutz seems not to be aware how impecunious claimant patent owners go about sueing (sic) the big corporation G in England.

    Then rabbit takes out an insurance policy that will pay all G’s legal fees, in the unlikely event that rabbit loses. Premium reasonable
    …”

    Name one insurance company that underwrites patent litigation fees and I’ll make a written inquiry and share the result with you.

    Typically, fees in even a lightly contested patent suit run upwards of $3 million, and that’s without appeal. Even if we stretch with favorable odds of success, say 4 to 1, how the hell would an “IMPECUNIOUS” patentee come up with a premium for 1/4, $750,000, of that? Moreover, as every practitioner knows, patent litigation fees are unpredictable.

    You apparently cannot do the math. Marks and Clerk can to the math and Lloyds of London can do the math, and they would give you the boot for wasting their time.

  6. Insurance companies that don’t accept risk go out of business. They make their money by correctly distinguishing those risk proposals that are profitable from those that are not. Likewise contingency fee law firms (to which class M&C does not belong, right?). Just because an insurance company chose not to accept your proposal of risk does not prove that the concept I set out is fanciful, impracticable or inane. Some things which are “painfully obvious to you”, rabbit, aren’t obvious to others. Other things that are not obvious to you are painfully obvious to other readers. I don’t know exactly what fact matrix lay behind your painful experience in England “some years ago” but I permit myself to have doubts whether it is in any way relevant to the “impecunious claimant with a winning case” scenario I set out above. Other readers will make their own judgments.

  7. Re:
    “Next time you face infringement of your valid claim in UK ask Marks & Clerk about what I am writing. See if they think it’s inane.”

    Been there a few years ago, done that – I don’t speak for anyone else, but yes, it is painfully obvious to me that “they think it’s inane.”

    Now you go ask them and find out for yourself.

  8. I’m surprised then, that any self-respecting rabbit would bother itself (whether in the 1895 of your quote or now) to spend his precious money filing anything at the USPTO or paying the fees of Marks & Clerk in England. But what I’m setting out is not my fantasy. Rather, it is what is championed by leading international patent litigation law firm Wragge & Co, and sanctioned by the English court of appeal. They are deadly serious about all this, not silly, retarded or inane.

    Next time you face infringement of your valid claim in UK ask Marks & Clerk about what I am writing. See if they think it’s inane.

  9. Herr MaxDreadful,

    Re:
    “Then rabbit takes out an insurance policy that will pay all G’s legal fees, in the unlikely event that rabbit loses. Premium reasonable because insurer relies on the XYZ conduct as strong evidence that rabbit is not going to lose.”

    If any IP person actually believes that silliness, I would have to say, with all due respect, they are retarded.
    Now that you’ve regurgitated that inanity one more time, perhaps you won’t ever have to again.

    Please see:
    link to patentlyo.com

    E. Bement & Sons v. La Dow, 66 Fed. 185 (Cir. Ct. N.Y. 1895)
    [N]o property is so uncertain as “patent rights”; no property more speculative in character or held by a more precarious tenure. An applicant who goes into the patent office with claims expanded to correspond with his unbounded faith in the invention, may emerge therefrom with a shriveled parchment which protects only that which any ingenious infringer can evade. Even this may be taken from him by the courts. Indeed, it is only after a patentee has passed successfully the ordeal of judicial interpretation that he can speak with any real certainty as to the scope and character of his invention.

  10. Mr Hutz seems not to be aware how impecunious claimant patent owners go about sueing the big corporation G in England. I’ve set it all out before, some time ago, but here goes, again. Rabbit takes his patent to leading patent litigation firm XYZ, gets an opinion that he ought to win, and agrees contingency fee basis in which X bills at double their normal hourly rate but, if they lose, they get nothing. Then rabbit takes out an insurance policy that will pay all G’s legal fees, in the unlikely event that rabbit loses. Premium reasonable because insurer relies on the XYZ conduct as strong evidence that rabbit is not going to lose. XYZ approaches G, saying, “We have taken this case on a no win no fee basis because we are so sure we are going to win. But maybe we can settle? Absent a settlement, we go to trial and if you lose you will pay our fees at double normal rate, plus the client’s insurance premium.” This scheme is expressly approved by the English courts, to enable impecunious rabbits to sue mega corp infringers of valid rabbit claims.

    Loser pays rule encourages settlement. Rabbit gets his royalty. XYZ gets well rewarded too. Is this what I omitted to write in the other thread?

  11. Herr MaxDreadful,

    With all due respect, your question (a) makes no sense and (b) is off-putting.

    And another thing, I don’t like it when a pompous-ass pulls my chain. Frankly, you are as transparent to me as a pane of glass and you are a pain in the ass to boot – you promote overtly and covertly any dam thing and every dam thing to hurt the self-employed inventor.

    Mr. Lionel Hurtz commented on the loser pays crap on this link:
    link to patentlyo.com

    You had nothing to further say on that thread – I wonder why?
    Be that as it may, perhaps Mr. Hurtz will explain it to you once and for all times so you won’t need to ever raise it again, but I for one don’t suffer pompous asses gladly.

  12. But enough about us, eh, rabbit. What do you, as an ordinary rabbit, rather than a patent litigator, think about awards of attorney fees in US patent litigation? Too frequent, or not enough?

    Wouldn’t a move towards a “Loser Pays” system, together with contingency fees, increase the chances for a meritorious but impecunious patent owner to get substantial royalty payments out of a big corporation, without having first to litigate all the way to trial? Works that way in England.

    I’m interested.

  13. When a pompous-ass sings one’s praises it tends to reflect poorly on said one. And too often you go too far, e.g., Mr. Mooney does not come off as threatening anyone. You spun that out of whole-cloth. Your attempt to be “entertaining” comes off as grating and condescending, i.e., a pompous-ass, in contrast to myself – I’ve been told I come off as juvenile or even silly at times, a Charlie Chaplin but with ewords.

  14. Pompous? I defer to you, rabbit. Maybe you are right; I’ll keep that in mind. “Thank you in the morning” sort of thing. I just enjoy trying (imperfectly, evidently) to get across, in an entertaining way, a point of general interest to other readers. I do enjoy reading Mooney, and I think other readers (you as well) do too, and I want him to continue. That’s the point I wanted to make.

  15. Now me, my theory is that Mooney’s real name is Jonathan Swift. Or that he has travelled in Europe. The way he writes reminds me of Gulliver, on his travels to strange lands where learned academics, with hundreds of years of experience spend all day arguing about ends of eggs or bottling sunbeams. For me, Mooney is a Voice of Business Reason, and his detractor lawyers are so vituperative precisely because they do see where he’s coming from, and the implications of what he is driving at (KISS) render them angry, threatened and afraid.

  16. Note to self, Mooney said if the claim doesn’t contain the word “new” I can infringe with impunity.

    Come to think of it all he did was put the file history against his head and said, “yep, nothing new here…”

    Second note to self, remember to call OED in the morning.

    Next morning:

    “excuse me Mr. OED clerk, what? …you have no record of a Malcolm Mooney? Well I’ll be darned”

  17. MP you make the bold assumption that Mooney has clients. He may well be an unemployed psychiatric orderly that blogs at Patently-O from the public library.

  18. Lionel,

    Funny you mention no comma. The book titled, “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” has a story on the back cover:

    A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots into the air.
    “Why?,” asks the confused waiter. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder on his way out of the café.
    “I’m a panda,” he says, “Look it up.”
    The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation:
    “Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”
    So, punctuation really does matter, even if it is only occasionally a matter of life and death.

    The waiter no doubt found the panda’s shooting two shots in the air appalling nonetheless, but at least the waiter had some story to tell to make life a bit more enjoyable for all who take the time.

  19. “The discharge means may be highly esoteric for all you know.”

    The suspense is killing me, Lionel!!!!! Please look it up and let us know!!!!!!!

  20. “Your last “off-the-cuff” remark was that no one was ever sued for drafting too narrow claims. You were wrong.”

    I never said that. And be very very careful about the words you put in my mouth, Mr. “You’re Not Careful Enough.” I would not want to learn you’re a hypocrite on top of a nagging worrywart.

    “Inasmuch as the prosecution history is not available, I will still state that the patent may be valid.”

    Good for you. Reminds me of Condi Rice when she used to talk about mushroom clouds. The rubes ate that stuff up. She was wrong. They were wrong. Hundreds of thousands of people are dead because of their word games.

  21. MM,

    Ignoring the prosecution history, without looking at the “discharge means” disclosed in the patent description you would be a complete fool to give any opinion on the validity of the claim. The discharge means may be highly esoteric for all you know.

    I have seen the front page and abstract of many patents for apparently obvious or well-known inventions and then studied the claims and realized that one of the elements was very specific and did distinguish over the prior art I was aware of.

    Of course, the discharge means can distinguish over the prior art. Whether it does or not is another question and not my point.

  22. Again, I think it was clear that my and other comments were that upon initial review, without review of the prosecution history, it could not be determined that the patent is not valid. I am secure enough in my ability and experience, and have written and read enough opinions, to know that I am in the right business.

    Did you know that it is the most experienced lawyers (or the lawyers who think that they are the most experienced) that are most at risk for malpractice (so I heard during a risk management seminar)? Apparently, they have a really bad habit of coming to the conclusion that they know what the law or facts are (and making “off-the-cuff” comments to their clients) before making a proper inquiry into what the law or facts are.

    Your last “off-the-cuff” remark was that no one was ever sued for drafting too narrow claims. You were wrong.

    Just to clarify what should go without saying except when someone is willfully misreading what is being said – I never said the patent is valid, I said I would not be surprised if the patent were valid, and could not come to a determination that the patent was invalid until the prosecution history was reviewed.

    In fact, here are the quotes.

    “I didn’t review the case, but perhaps novelty lies in the “discharge means.”"

    and

    “I don’t know if any of us have done a full review of this patent. My initial comments, and well as many others comments, made it clear that a full analysis was not done, and perhaps novelty was to be found in the nozzle.

    Inasmuch as the prosecution history is not available, I will still state that the patent may be valid. Perhaps it is clear from the response filed that the nozzle is limited to some preferred embodiment, encompassing a very limited scope.”

  23. “Would you really give your client an off-the-cuff opinion without reviewing the prosecution history of the issued patent? If so, I think that is foolhardy. If not, your arguments above are disingenuous.”

    Not that this has anything to do with my comments here, but yes I routinely give my clients “off-the-cuff” opinions about the validity of patent claims without reviewing the prosecution history. Why wouldn’t I? They have me on the phone. Even if I wanted the prosecution history I often can’t get my hands on it for a few days. Do I tell the client to rely on my “off the cuff” and start infringing? No. But that’s a formality. We’d order the prosecution history and I’d look it. But I am very confident I can write the invalidity opinion and I know it will be a good one because you’d need a screwed up prosecution history and a screwed up judge to rescue claims like this.

    “I think you are the only person I have ever known who can look at the four corners of the patent and determine whether the claims are valid.”

    I think you are insecure and inexperienced. After you’ve examined and written invalidity opinions for enough patents, you get a very good feeling for what is garbage and what is not.

    Crawl out of your rabbit hole and look at the claim again. It’s a method for irrigating a wound and there is nothing new recited in the claims, e.g., a new antibiotic or a new type of plastic. If that doesn’t set your alarm bells ringing, you are in the wrong business.

  24. A new doctrine, perhaps to be applied to US patents that look “a bit iffy”:

    the presumption of idiocy.

  25. Malcolm:

    Would you really give your client an off-the-cuff opinion without reviewing the prosecution history of the issued patent? If so, I think that is foolhardy. If not, your arguments above are disingenuous.

    I think it is clear to everyone that was all I was saying. I think you are the only person I have ever known who can look at the four corners of the patent and determine whether the claims are valid. The rest of us (other practitioners, litigators, circuit court judges, Federal Circuit judges, Supreme Court judges, etc.), well, we have to look at the patent prosecution history.

  26. Remember, everything is obvious in “Mooney’s World” – because he can “fold proteins.” Let the world be on notice: anything less than protein folding according to the Mooney method is trivial and undeserving of protection.

    Eeyeah right.

  27. “You may ultimately be right, but you rush to these snap judgments without getting all the facts.”

    And you’re the arbiter of what constitutes “all the facts”? Spare me, brother. I didn’t make a “snap judgment”. I read the claims carefully. They are a joke. If you think there is something in the specification or prosecution history that is going to turn that sow ear into a silk purse, then you are welcome to search to your heart’s content.

    You won’t find anything. That also is not a “snap judgment”.

  28. How many times do I have say —

    Hey Guys, Why can’t we all Just get a long? Why can’t we channel our extra energy against Piracy Director Dufas and his main minions, the “Coalition for Patent Piracy” and its miserable members, e.g., (¢¿©isco), and any other Patent Reformers who have been screwin’ with us patent professionals by, e.g., rejections, returns, rejections, returns ad infinitum and would foist many other frustrations and levies on patent attorneys and their inventors alike, and threaten our very livelihoods.

  29. MM,

    Once again, I am too lazy to look it up, but “discharge means” is limited to the ones disclosed in the description and the equivalents thereof. Further, an argument made during prosecution may have narrowed the definition even further.

    You may ultimately be right, but you rush to these snap judgments without getting all the facts.

  30. “I usually review the file wrapper of a patent before commenting on whether the validity of any of the patent claims is suspect.”

    What case law will you rely on to justify your reading of limitations from the prosecution history into the claims? I looked at the specification. It won’t help you. Someone wants to hang the validity of that claim on the recited structure corresponding to “discharge means”?

    Good luck with that.

  31. I usually review the file wrapper of a patent before commenting on whether the validity of any of the patent claims is suspect. Wonder if any of those pontificating above have reviewed the file wrapper.

  32. “I don’t know if any of us have done a full review of this patent. My initial comments, and well as many others comments, made it clear that a full analysis was not done, and perhaps novelty was to be found in the nozzle.”

    You mean the nozzle that is described in the claims as “a nozzle”? Even you know that nozzles are old and, frankly, you are seriously drunk on the bad patent bar kool-aid.

  33. TMP: Interesting. “Better” for whom (to err on the side of allowance)? The Applicant? I don’t see who else it benefits. If you think it would benefit the public interest, please provide an explanation (lest my tone be misinterpreted, this is a serious question, not sarcasm or derision).

    Even if the nozzle is inventive, the patent will likely run into 112 issues due to the “larger than that which can be achieved using a syringe” limitation pointed out by MM and MaxDrei above.

  34. I don’t know if any of us have done a full review of this patent. My initial comments, and well as many others comments, made it clear that a full analysis was not done, and perhaps novelty was to be found in the nozzle.

    Inasmuch as the prosecution history is not available, I will still state that the patent may be valid. Perhaps it is clear from the response filed that the nozzle is limited to some preferred embodiment, encompassing a very limited scope.

    It is still better to err on the side of allowance than rejection, notwithstanding any one example to the contrary.

  35. Ahem, And people think that not having q=r^3 in place would have a good effect …

    At least these folks were about to get lawyers fees back.

  36. And people don’t think that not having q=r^3 in place would have a detrimental effect …

    At least these folks were about to get lawyers fees back.

  37. Malcolm knows how to issue valid patents and e6k knows how to draft valid claims. I think that you two guys should switch places.

  38. From the spec:

    The irrigation solution used can be water, saline, or a balanced salt solution. The solution is preferably sterile and at the discretion of the user or manufacturer of the irrigation solution can additionally comprise an antibacterial and/or antifungal component. The device can be sterilized by known sterilization techniques, including boiling, autoclaving, gas sterilization and the like, either separately or together with the reservoir housing.

    —–
    Sterile showers are old in the art. Also old in the art are devices that you step on which causes the device to spray an antiseptic onto foot wounds caused by athlete’s foot fungus.

    Should we be surprised that PTO Examiners don’t know about these things?

  39. Any issue in the USA with clarity at the point of novelty? Are Examiners at the USPTO by now any tighter on clarity issues?

    I have in mind the following threee features of the claim (at least) which seem to me (haven’t yet read the patent) to be the ones the Applicant was relying on, to distinguish over the art. What is the scope of:

    1. a stream that is “dispersed”

    2. “area which it contacts” and

    3. “larger than that which can be achieved using a syringe”

    In quibbling about the clarity of item 3 above, I would also cite stuff seen on TV, namely a comic syringe a yard long, with a diameter to match.

  40. Anon:

    If you don’t like the shower prior art you have the antifungal spray which reads on claim 1. (Don’t blame D******)

    As for the shower, most apartments, villages and country clubs have a water tower or reservoir situated so that the water is delivered at high pressure. I’d say that reads on the limitation “pressurized reservoir”.

    Is the delivered water sterile? I imagine you could find somewhere, maybe a hospital, a country club or army base where they actively sterilize the water coming from the shower. That said, roof-top water reservoirs in various hot countries, say Greece, are exposed to the sun, exposure which has been demonstrated to sterilize the water.

    Barring that, one could say that using sterile water instead of “regular” water to clean wounds is obvious by citing any of a large numbers of ’70s sitcoms where a bumbling husband is sent to boil water in preparation of an imminent birth. It is clear to a PHOSITA watching the sitcom that when using water as an irrigant in a “medical situation”, the water should be sterile.

  41. “I don’t know, is your showerhead connected to a compressible or pressurized reservoir containing a sterile wound-irrigating solution?”

    How sterile? All the rest is taken care of. iirc in the US we try to clean up our water quite a bit before delivery.

  42. “Doesn’t the cited claim 1 read on taking a shower when you have a cut on your foot?”

    I don’t know, is your showerhead connected to a compressible or pressurized reservoir containing a sterile wound-irrigating solution?

  43. It seems that Malcolm is right on this one.

    Doesn’t the cited claim 1 read on taking a shower when you have a cut on your foot?

    Or maybe on using the antifungal foot sprays that were quite common in the ’70s?

  44. “if the examples of discharge means are broad in the application, your point is more valid.”

    Gosh, the suspense is killing me. LOL!

  45. MM,

    The MP is correct, You should identify what the discharge means are before condemning the patent. People look a PB&J prep patent or method of swinging patent and scoff without actually looking at what is claimed.

    Now, if the examples of discharge means are broad in the application, your point is more valid.

  46. “Process claims limited by structure and all that”

    It is highly amusing. The best part is the limitation about “the area from which said stream emanates, or the area which it contacts, is larger than that which can be achieved using a syringe.”

    Because everyone knows that “a syringe” is a really specific standard by which to compare stuff. WTF?!?

    My guess is that what happened here is during discovery Innovation got “that sinking feeling,” detected the judge’s disdain for their patent and their behavior, and decided to pull the plug before their precious IP got turned into toilet paper and they got hit with sanctions and the inevitable inequitable conduct allegations.

  47. Go ahead “Mooney”, let ‘er rip. You can do better than “Am I to believe that prior to the filing date of this patent, nobody squeezed a sterile solution out of plastic bottle onto a wound?”

    What about the other great independent claim? This is great stuff!! Process claims limited by structure and all that. After all, there was no finding of invalidity OR infringement. No finding at all. So those claims are still entitled to the legal presumption of validity.

    There are at least 3 possible targets for you here: the patent lawyer who wrote this gem, the examiner who allowed it, and the trial court judge who is, in CAFC’s view, a loose cannon on sanctions.

  48. Go ahead “Mooney”, let ‘er rip. You can do better than “Am I to believe that prior to the filing date of this patent, nobody squeezed a sterile solution out of plastic bottle onto a wound?”

    What about the other great independent claim? This is great stuff!! Process claims limited by structure and all that. After all, there was no finding of invalidity OR infringement. No finding at all. So those claims are still entitled to the legal presumption of validity.

    There are at least 3 possible targets for you here: the patent lawyer who wrote this gem, the examiner who allowed it, and the trial court judge who is, in CAFC’s view, a loose cannon on sanctions.

  49. . . . lest we start to sound like the computer scientist types on the internet (“did you hear, Apple just patented music stored on an I-pod”).

  50. I didn’t review the case, but perhaps novelty lies in the “discharge means.”

  51. Another patent issued at the height of the patent bubble:

    1. A method for irrigating a wound, said method comprising the steps of:

    (a) providing a sterile wound-irrigation solution in a compressible or
    pressurized reservoir housing having engaged thereto a discharge means
    comprising at least one port therethrough wherein said port forms a nozzle for directing a pressurized stream of said solution, and wherein the shape and configuration of said port, or ports, results in a dispersed stream of said solution;

    (b) directing the discharge means and reservoir housing so as to discharge the wound-irrigation solution toward said wound; and

    (c) discharging said wound-irrigation solution from said reservoir housing and through said nozzle-forming port or ports in said discharge means to produce a dispersed stream of said wound-irrigation solution directed at said wound, wherein said dispersed stream is applied with sufficient force to dislodge contaminants, thereby effectively irrigating said wound, and wherein the area from which said stream emanates, or the area which it contacts, is larger than that which can be achieved using a syringe.

    ————–

    Am I to believe that prior to the filing date of this patent, nobody squeezed a sterile solution out of plastic bottle onto a wound?

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