Later today here at the University of Missouri School of Law, we are hosting the Fifth Annual Patent Law Moot Court sponsored by McKool Smith and part of the activities of our Center for Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship (CIPE). (Tonight’s winner gets $1,000).
The setup this year is a revival of the LightingBallast case that we argued a few years ago. Earlier this year, the Federal Circuit again changed course in that case — finding that the patentee’s claimed “voltage source means” connotes structure to one skilled in the art (based upon expert testimony) and therefore is not interpreted under 112(f) [112,p6] (and therefore is not automatically invalid for failing to provide any structure description of the claimed means in the written description).
In the moot-court world, the Federal Circuit has granted en banc rehearing by the defendant on the following three questions:
- Should claim limitations using the term “means” be presumed to fall under the purview of 35 U.S.C. Section 112¶6 and, if so, what level of presumption should apply?
- Should a district court’s fact finding regarding commonly understood terms be entitled to deference on appeal?
- Did the district court correctly construe “voltage source means” as used in claim 1 of U.S. Patent No. 5,436,529?
What do you think?
@MizzouLaw Today's Patent Law Moot Court Question: If a Patentee claims a "means", do we presumptively apply 112(f)?
— Dennis Crouch (@patentlyo) November 17, 2015