Sunday, September 17, 2006

MIT v. Abacus

In MIT v. Abacus, the CAFC ruled that the claim limitation "colorant selection mechanism" was subject to 35 USC 112 P6, stating that "generic terms 'mechanism,' 'means,' 'element,' and 'device,' typically do not connote sufficiently definite structure." In so doing, the CAFC affirmed the district court. Other aspects were not affirmed.

William Rooklidge appeared on behalf of appellant MIT, and did effect a vacation of the district court construction of the term "aesthetic correction circuitry."

The patent at issue was US 4,500,919 directed to a color processing system for producing copies of color originals.

The CAFC cited Cybor, 138 F.3d 1448. The CAFC criticized the mechanism by which the MIT case had been litigated. The CAFC did get into dictionaries and cited Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1322. There was a discussion of "flying spot scanners."

MIT argued that television cameras are scanners that operate without relative movement. The CAFC rejected the argument. [In a world in which MIT says a TV camera is a scanner and Ariad/MIT/Harvard assert a natural process patent against Eli Lilly, it is somewhat difficult to determine what a good or a bad patent is. See previous post on IPBiz about patent reform.]

The CAFC cited Schering v. Amgen, 222 F.3d 1347 for the proposition that a claim does NOT include later-discovered species that were unknown at the time of the application. The court also cited Kopykake, 264 F.3d 1377.


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