Wednesday, May 24, 2017

CAFC discusses written description in Rivera v. ITC

Rivera appealed an adverse ITC decision in the technical realm of
Single Service Beverage Brewers.

The CAFC affirmed a finding of invalidity through lack of written description:

The Commission and Solofill respond that the broader
definition of a “pod” does not provide written description
support for the claimed “container . . . adapted to hold
brewing material” (i.e., a container with an integral filter)
because: (1) every embodiment and teaching in the specification
shows the “pod” and the cartridge or container as
distinct elements; (2) the distinction of the “pod” from the
cartridge or container is fundamental to the problem and
solution taught in the specification; and (3) the embodiments
shown in the specification would not work without
a separate filter.

We agree with the Commission and Solofill. The underlying
concern addressed by the ’320 patent is enabling
compatibility between pods used in pod-type beverage
brewers and cartridges used in cartridge-type beverage
brewers. S

The distinction between “pods” and cartridges permeates
the entire patent. There is no hint or discussion of a
cartridge or pod adaptor assembly or receptacle that also
serves as the “pod.” Instead, the specification explains
how the cartridge may be adapted to accept a separate
“pod” to be used inside the cartridge. F

Of note:

Finally, Rivera argues that the background
knowledge of those skilled in the art can supplement the
teaching in the specification to provide written description
support. For this proposition, Rivera relies on Boston
Scientific Corp. v. Johnson & Johnson, 647 F.3d 1353,
1366 (Fed. Cir. 2011) and Falkner v. Inglis, 448 F.3d
1357, 1367–68 (Fed. Cir. 2006). Rivera argues as follows:
(1) ordinary artisans recognized the need for some type of
filter in the cartridge; (2) ordinary artisans were aware of
the availability of an integrated filter; (3) nothing in the
patent limits the use of a filter to an enclosed package to
put into a separate cartridge; and therefore (4) the ’320
patent provides written description support for an integrated
We reject Rivera’s argument. As we explained in Ariad,
the written description inquiry looks to “the four
corners of the specification” to discern the extent to which
the inventor(s) had possession of the invention as broadly
claimed. Ariad, 598 F.3d at 1351;
The knowledge of ordinary artisans may be used to inform
what is actually in the specification, see Lockwood, 107
F.3d at 1571, but not to teach limitations that are not in
the specification, even if those limitations would be rendered
obvious by the disclosure in the specification. Id


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