Monday, August 22, 2005

Aquatex v. Techniche: citing Phillips v. AWH on prosecution history

In Aquatex v. Techniche, the CAFC upheld a district court claim construction but reversed on a doctrine of equivalents/estoppel issue. The reasoning on the claim construction issue was a bit weak.

An issue was the meaning of "fiberfill batting material." The district court construed it to encompass only synthetic materials. The accused product contained a mixture of natural and synthetic. The patentee incorporated by reference the texts of several US patents, all of which discussed only synthetic materials. The CAFC declined to give the prosecution history much weight, citing to Phillips. Dictionaries defined fiberfill as purely synthetic; however, one chemical dictionary gave an example of natural products as fiberfill. The CAFC cited Nazomi, 403 F3d 1364, for the proposition that limitations from the specification must not be read into the claims, but affirmed the district court on the "synthetic" point.

Of DOE, the accused infringer invoked argument based estoppel (Pharmacia, 170 F3d 1373; Cybor, 138 F.3d at 1457). The CAFC rejected this.


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