Claim Construction Deconstructed—Another Layer of Diverging Standards

Claim Construction Deconstructed—Another Layer of Diverging Standards

Feb 09, 2015

Client Alert

Brownstein Client Alert, Feb. 9, 2015

The America Invents Act (AIA) implemented post-grant proceedings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) as an alternative to litigation at district courts in the federal circuit. Since its institution, much focus has been placed on the different standards of claim construction used by the PTAB and the district court when construing patents at issue. Whereas the PTAB is to evaluate claims under the broadest reasonable interpretation in light of the specification without any underlying presumption of validity, the district courts are to construe claims in light of the plain and ordinary meaning with the presumption that an asserted claim is valid. Despite this opportunity for diverging claim constructions, a place for resolution of the discrepancies remained at the Federal Circuit, which, until recently, reviewed all claim construction issues de novo. However, on Jan. 20, 2015, the Supreme Court’s holding in Teva Pharm. USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc. added another level of intricacy and increased the level of unpredictability for practitioners seeking to meaningfully construe patent claims.

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