by Dennis Crouch
Over the past several of years, the court has appeared to be increasingly divided on the question of when a district court (or PTAB judge) must offer an express construction of beyond simply assigning a claim its “plain and ordinary meaning” without further definition. In NobelBiz v. Global Connect, the Federal Circuit ruled that disputed claims must be construed (despite some precedent to the contrary). That result means that NobelBiz’s jury win is vacated and remanded.
Now in its en banc filing, the patentee has asked three questions:
- May a district court ever assign a “plain and ordinary meaning” construction? Or is an express construction required whenever a litigant asserts an O2 Micro “dispute,” as dictated by NobelBiz and Eon?
- May the Federal Circuit narrow claim scope without finding lexicography or prosecution disclaimer, by parsing the intrinsic record and relying on “extra-record extrinsic evidence,” as occurred in NobelBiz?
- May a district court refer the question of infringement to a jury when claim terms are assigned their plain and ordinary meaning?
The briefing is well done and does good job of highlighting the distinct approaches by the various Federal Circuit judges. Even if they disagree on the appropriate rule, all of the Federal Circuit judges should agree that this is an issue that needs resolution.