CAFC: Claim implied at least two styles.

MicrostrategyMicrostrategy v. Business Objects (Fed. Cir. 2005)

These companies make business intelligence software.  Microstrategy filed suit against Business Objects alleging both patent infringement and several business tort claims.  The patent at issue involved automatic broadcasting of information to multiple types of subscriber devices and then formatting the output.

Patent Claims: After a Markman hearing, the defendant, Business Objects, was granted summary judgment of non-infringement. On appeal, Microstrategy did not fight the claim construction, but rather the interpretation and application of the claim construction.  The question was whether the claim language of “each user output device . . . be associated with a device-specific style” required at least two different styles.

MicroStrategy argues that this Markman construction and the context of the invention do not require support for more than one type of output device. In particular, MicroStrategy notes that the specification contemplates a system with “one or more” output devices. Thus, MicroStrategy reads the claim and the district court’s Markman construction to permit a system with support for just one type of user device.

The CAFC, disagreed. Because the claim required that “each user output device . . . be associated with a device-specific style,” the Court determined that the claim implicitly required at least two different styles.  Because the defendant only supported one style, the non-infringement decision was affirmed.

The Appellate panel did, however, reverse the lower court’s findings regarding one of the business tort claims under Virginia law.