Indefinite Claims: Lack of Antecedent Basis Alone Does Not Render Claims Indefinite

MercuryFreebatteryEnergizer Holdings v. ITC (Fed. Cir. 2006).

Energizer brought suit through the ITC under 19 USC 1337 to stop importation of what what it considered infringing devices. Energizer’s patent relates to batteries that are virtually mercury free.  The ITC held that Energizer’s patent was invalid under 35 USC 112 because a claim term, “said zinc anode,” lacked antecedent basis.

On appeal, the CAFC found clear error and reversed.  In its decision, the CAFC refused to follow any strict “rules” of claim drafting.  Rather, the court found that a claim will not be indefinite unless the scope is not “reasonably ascertainable by those skilled in the art.”