Callicrate v. Wadsworth (Fed. Cir. 2005).
Callicrate sued Wadsworth for infringement of its patented bull castration tools. After a trial, a jury found all of the claims anticipated, obvious, and not infringed. On appeal, the CAFC disregarded the jury verdict and reversed.
Infringement: The defendant admitted that its devices include all of the claim elements. Based on that admission, the CAFC determined that the jury had “no basis” for finding no infringement and that there is “no reason for a new trial.” (Although each element was included, the defendant argued that the components were “not connected in the particular manner recited in the claims. The CAFC does not seem to have addressed that point specifically since the jury instructions asked simply whether “each and every element” of the claim was included).
Enabling Disclosure: Callicarate’s patent claim priority to an earlier patent, but could be invalidated if they were shown to be not fully enabled by the earlier patent. The district court found that the earlier patent did not contain adequate disclosure to support the claimed mechanism because (1) the only disclosure of the claimed mechanism is in the background section of the earlier patent; (2) the background section contains disparaging remarks about this mechanism; and (3) the patentee distinguished his assembly mechanism from the claimed mechanism during prosecution.
However, the CAFC held that these reasons were insufficient for a finding of a lack of enablement. First, the background section can be used to enable a claim. Second, disparaging remarks do not make it any less likely that one of ordinary skill in the art would, after reading the background, know how to make and use the invention.
Defendant Challenging Claim Construction: In a cross-appeal, the defendant challenged certain claim construction terms. However, the CAFC refused to hear that appeal because the defendant had not objected to the district court’s construction and had conceded infringement of the newly challenged element. (note: the CAFC has finally drawn a line for when it will not review claim construction).
Conclusion: Reversed and remanded because jury verdict was against the weight of the evidence.