Jury must be presented with a structural analysis of means+function elements

Image011CytoLogix v. Ventana (Fed. Cir. 2005).

CytoLogix sued Ventana for infringement of its patents covering an automated microscopic slide stainer.  The case went to trial and the jury found that the patent was not invalid and that Ventana infringed.

The district court entered a permanent injunction but did not yet reach the issue of damages.

Final Judgment: As a preliminary matter, the CAFC determined that it had jurisdiction to hear an appeal even though the court had not entered a final judgment with respect to liability damages.  Specifically, the court held that it had jurisdiction over the interlocutory appeal because Ventana was appealing a permanent injunction order.

Means+Function: The CAFC overruled the jury’s verdict on claim 13 — a means plus function claim.  The appellate court ruled that CytoLogix had failed to present “substantial evidence” of infringement of the means plus function claim because it did not construct a specific structural analysis of that claim.

To establish infringement under § 112, ¶ 6, it is insufficient for the patent holder to present testimony “based only on a functional, not a structural, analysis.”  Here, CytoLogix failed to identify the structure in the specification that is the “temperature controller means” and compare it to the structure of the accused device. Accordingly, because CytoLogix failed to present substantial evidence of infringement of claim 13 of the ’693 patent, the jury verdict of infringement of claim 13 must be reversed.