Tuesday, January 16, 2018

LIQWD, INC./OLAPLEX LLC win appeal at CAFC against L’ORÉAL: context is central in claim construction

Olaplex moved for a preliminary injunction, and in
July 2017, the district court denied the motion. The
court’s dispositive basis for denying the motion was its
construction of the claim requirement that the mixture
not contain a “hair coloring agent.” Because the adopted
construction excluded L’Oréal’s products, the court concluded,
Olaplex had failed to show a likelihood of success
on the merits of its infringement claims and therefore a
preliminary injunction was inappropriate. Id. at *7.
Olaplex timely appealed. We have jurisdiction under
28 U.S.C. § 1292(a)(1) and (c)(1). We now conclude that
the district court erred in its claim construction, and we
therefore vacate the denial of the preliminary injunction
and remand for further proceedings.

Within the case:

Context is central in claim construction, see,
e.g., Atlas IP, LLC v. Medtronic, Inc., 809 F.3d 599, 608
(Fed. Cir. 2015); Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303,
1321 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc), and here the method
claims’ focus on producing results suggests a focus on
whether “hair coloring” results from the mixture actually
applied to hair. Cf. Cox Commc’ns, Inc. v. Sprint
Commc’n Co. LP, 838 F.3d 1224, 1232 (Fed. Cir. 2016)
(“All of the asserted claims are method claims, so it makes
sense to define the inventive method as a series of functions.”).
It is beyond dispute that not only the chemical
identity of molecules in the mixture, but the quantity of
such molecules, matters to whether the mixture contains
a constituent that in fact produces the result of hair
coloring. Accordingly, it is one natural interpretation of
the claim language, in context, to focus on what is actually
present in the mixture, considering both chemical
identity and quantity. In short, it is natural to say that a
particular mixture “does not contain a hair-coloring
agent,” despite the presence of certain identified molecules
that if greatly increased in number could change
hair color, if there are not enough of those molecules to
actually change hair color.

The case illustrates "what can happen" when a district court does
not address all arguments:

The district court did not rest its denial of the requested
preliminary injunction on any of the other bases
advanced by L’Oréal for denying the injunction.


Post a Comment

<< Home