コラムMPEP:プリアンブルの効果に関する判例集~MPEP 2111.02~


     

米国特許クレームにおけるプリアンブルがクレーム解釈に与える効果について論じた判例が、MPEP 2111.02(”Effect of Preamble”)において網羅的に記載されています。

概要

プリアンブルがクレームを限定するかどうかは、各ケースの事実に基づいて判断されるものであり、どのような場合にプリアンブルがクレームを限定するかを示すリトマス試験紙のようなものは存在しない。

Catalina Mktg. Int’l v. Coolsavings.com, Inc., 289 F.3d 801, 808, 62 USPQ2d 1781, 1785 (Fed. Cir. 2002)

No litmus test defines when a preamble limits claim scope.  Some guideposts, however, have emerged from various cases discussing the preamble’s effect on claim scope.(プリアンブルの限定/非限定を判断するリトマス紙は存在しないが、過去の数々の判例から、プリアンブルの効果に関する指針のようなものを見出すことができる。)

ジェプソンクレームは、プリアンブルにおいて発明を定義するため、ジェプソンクレームのプリアンブルはクレームを限定する。

Rowe v. Dror, 112 F.3d 473, 478, 42 USPQ2d 1550, 1553 (Fed. Cir. 1997)

Epcon Gas Sys., Inc. v. Bauer Compressors, Inc., 279 F.3d 1022, 1029, 61 USPQ2d 1470, 1475 (Fed.Cir.2002)

 
プリアンブルに記載されたフレーズがクレーム本体部に記載された表現の先行詞となっている場合、このような関係はクレームを限定する。 Bell Communications Research, Inc. v. Vitalink Communications Corp., 55 F.3d 615, 620, 34 USPQ2d 1816, 1820 (Fed.Cir.1995) [W]hen the claim drafter chooses to use both the preamble and the body to define the subject matter of the claimed invention, the invention so defined, and not some other, is the one the patent protects.
プリアンブルの記載が、クレーム本体部の限定または用語の理解のために欠かせない場合、プリアンブルはクレームを限定する。 Pitney Bowes, Inc. v. Hewlett-Packard Co., 182 F.3d 1298, 1306 (Fed. Cir. 1999)  

CASEBRIEFS: Catalina Marketing International v. Coolsavings.com, Inc.
FindLaw: CATALINA MARKETING INTERNATIONAL INC v. COOLSAVINGS COM INC

Bell Communications Research, Inc. v. Vitalink Communications Corp., 55 F.3d 615, 620, 34 USPQ2d 1816, 1820 (Fed. Cir. 1995)

[A] claim preamble has the import that the claim as a whole suggests for it.

FindLaw: BELL COMMUNICATIONS RESEARCH INC v. VITALINK COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION

Pitney Bowes, Inc. v. Hewlett-Packard Co., 182 F.3d 1298, 1305, 51 USPQ2d 1161, 1165-66 (Fed. Cir. 1999).

If the claim preamble, when read in the context of the entire claim, recites limitations of the claim, or, if the claim preamble is ‘necessary to give life, meaning, and vitality’ to the claim, then the claim preamble should be construed as if in the balance of the claim.

FindLaw: PITNEY BOWES INC v. HEWLETT PACKARD COMPANY

Jansen v. Rexall Sundown, Inc., 342 F.3d 1329, 1333, 68 USPQ2d 1154, 1158 (Fed. Cir. 2003)

In considering the effect of the preamble in a claim directed to a method of treating or preventing pernicious anemia in humans by administering a certain vitamin preparation to “a human in need thereof,” the court held that the claims’ recitation of a patient or a human “in need” gives life and meaning to the preamble’s statement of purpose.

FindLaw: JANSEN v. REXALL SUNDOWN INC

Kropa v. Robie, 187 F.2d 150, 152, 88 USPQ 478, 481 (CCPA 1951)

プリアンブルの”An abrasive article”という表現がクレームに必須であると解釈された。
[I]t is only by that phrase that it can be known that the subject matter defined by the claims is comprised as an abrasive article. Every union of substances capable inter alia of use as abrasive grains and a binder is not an “abrasive article.”

casetext: Kropa v. Robie

I. プリアンブルの記載が構造を限定する場合

クレーム発明を限定するプリアンブルの記述は、クレーム限定として扱わなければならない。

Corning Glass Works v. Sumitomo Elec. U.S.A., Inc., 868 F.2d 1251, 1257, 9 USPQ2d 1962, 1966 (Fed. Cir. 1989)

The determination of whether preamble recitations are structural limitations can be resolved only on review of the entirety of the application “to gain an understanding of what the inventors actually invented and intended to encompass by the claim.”

casetext: Corning Glass Works v. Sumitomo Elec. U.S.A

Pac-Tec Inc. v. Amerace Corp., 903 F.2d 796, 801, 14 USPQ2d 1871, 1876 (Fed. Cir. 1990)

[D]etermining that preamble language that constitutes a structural limitation is actually part of the claimed invention.
Justia: https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F2/903/796/435518/

In re Stencel, 828 F.2d 751, 4 USPQ2d 1071 (Fed. Cir. 1987)

The claim at issue was directed to a driver for setting a joint of a threaded collar; however, the body of the claim did not directly include the structure of the collar as part of the claimed article. The examiner did not consider the preamble, which did set forth the structure of the collar, as limiting the claim. The court found that the collar structure could not be ignored. While the claim was not directly limited to the collar, the collar structure recited in the preamble did limit the structure of the driver. “[T]he framework – the teachings of the prior art – against which patentability is measured is not all drivers broadly, but drivers suitable for use in combination with this collar, for the claims are so limited.”
casetext: In re Stencel

II. プリアンブルに目的や用途が記載されている場合

プリアンブルは、クレーム全体の文脈において読む必要がある。クレームの記載が構造を限定するか、あるいは単に目的または用途の記載にすぎないかは、発明全体を検討することによって判断することができる。発明全体を検討することにより、発明者が実際に発明したものと、クレームにより保護したいと考える範囲を理解することができる。

Corning Glass Works, 868 F.2d at 1257, 9 USPQ2d at 1966

The effect preamble language should be given can be resolved only on review of the entirety of the patent to gain an understanding of what the inventors actually invented and intended to encompass by the claim.

casetext: Corning Glass Works v. Sumitomo Elec. U.S.A

Pitney Bowes, Inc. v. Hewlett-Packard Co., 182 F.3d 1298, 1305, 51 USPQ2d 1161, 1165 (Fed. Cir. 1999)

If the body of a claim fully and intrinsically sets forth all of the limitations of the claimed invention, and the preamble merely states, for example, the purpose or intended use of the invention, rather than any distinct definition of any of the claimed invention’s limitations, then the preamble is not considered a limitation and is of no significance to claim construction.

FindLaw: PITNEY BOWES INC v. HEWLETT PACKARD COMPANY

Rowe v. Dror, 112 F.3d 473, 478, 42 USPQ2d 1550, 1553 (Fed. Cir. 1997)

[W]here a patentee defines a structurally complete invention in the claim body and uses the preamble only to state a purpose or intended use for the invention, the preamble is not a claim limitation.
casetext: Rowe v. Dror

Kropa v. Robie, 187 F.2d at 152, 88 USPQ2d at 480-81

[P]reamble is not a limitation where claim is directed to a product and the preamble merely recites a property inherent in an old product defined by the remainder of the claim.

casetext: Kropa v. Robie

STX LLC. v. Brine, 211 F.3d 588, 591, 54 USPQ2d 1347, 1350 (Fed. Cir. 2000)

[H]olding that the preamble phrase “which provides improved playing and handling characteristics” in a claim drawn to a head for a lacrosse stick was not a claim limitation.

casetext: STX, LLC v. Brine, Inc.

Jansen v. Rexall Sundown, Inc., 342 F.3d 1329, 1333-34, 68 USPQ2d 1154, 1158 (Fed. Cir. 2003)

In a claim directed to a method of treating or preventing pernicious anemia in humans by administering a certain vitamin preparation to “a human in need thereof,” the court held that the preamble is not merely a statement of effect that may or may not be desired or appreciated, but rather is a statement of the intentional purpose for which the method must be performed. Thus the claim is properly interpreted to mean that the vitamin preparation must be administered to a human with a recognized need to treat or prevent pernicious anemia.

FindLaw: JANSEN v. REXALL SUNDOWN INC

In re Cruciferous Sprout Litig., 301 F.3d 1343, 1346-48, 64 USPQ2d 1202, 1204-05 (Fed. Cir. 2002)

A claim at issue was directed to a method of preparing a food rich in glucosinolates wherein cruciferous sprouts are harvested prior to the 2-leaf stage. The court held that the preamble phrase “rich in glucosinolates” helps define the claimed invention, as evidenced by the specification and prosecution history, and thus is a limitation of the claim (although the claim was anticipated by prior art that produced sprouts inherently “rich in glucosinolates”).

casetext: In re Cruciferous Sprout Litigation

審査において、プリアンブルに記載された目的または用途が構造上の違い(方法クレームの場合、操作上の違い)をもたらすかどうかを評価しなければならない。違いをもたらす場合、プリアンブルの記載はクレームを限定する。

In re Otto, 312 F.2d 937, 938, 136 USPQ 458, 459 (CCPA 1963)
The claims were directed to a core member for hair curlers and a process of making a core member for hair curlers. Court held that the intended use of hair curling was of no significance to the structure and process of making.
casetext: Application of Otto

In re Sinex, 309 F.2d 488, 492, 135 USPQ 302, 305 (CCPA 1962)
[S]tatement of intended use in an apparatus claim did not distinguish over the prior art apparatus.
Caselaw Access Project: https://cite.case.law/ccpa/50/1004/

先行技術の構造がプリアンブルに記載の用途に使用できる場合、先行技術の構造はクレームを満たしている。

In re Schreiber, 128 F.3d 1473, 1477, 44 USPQ2d 1429, 1431 (Fed. Cir. 1997)
anticipation rejection affirmed based on Board’s factual finding that the reference dispenser (a spout disclosed as useful for purposes such as dispensing oil from an oil can) would be capable of dispensing popcorn in the manner set forth in appellant’s claim 1 (a dispensing top for dispensing popcorn in a specified manner)) and cases cited therein.
Justia: https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F3/128/1473/525294/

Metabolite Labs., Inc. v. Corp. of Am. Holdings, 370 F.3d 1354, 1358-62, 71 USPQ2d 1081, 1084-87 (Fed. Cir. 2004).
A preamble may provide context for claim construction, particularly, where as here, that preamble’s statement of intended use forms the basis for distinguishing the prior art in the patent’s prosecution history.
The patent claim at issue was directed to a two-step method for detecting a deficiency of vitamin B12 or folic acid, involving (i) assaying a body fluid for an “elevated level” of homocysteine, and (ii) “correlating” an “elevated” level with a vitamin deficiency. 370 F.3d at 1358-59, 71 USPQ2d at 1084. The court stated that the disputed claim term “correlating” can include comparing with either an unelevated level or elevated level, as opposed to only an elevated level because adding the “correlating” step in the claim during prosecution to overcome prior art tied the preamble directly to the “correlating” step. 370 F.3d at 1362, 71 USPQ2d at 1087. The recitation of the intended use of “detecting” a vitamin deficiency in the preamble rendered the claimed invention a method for “detecting,” and, thus, was not limited to detecting “elevated” levels. Id.
casetext: Metabolite Lab., Inc. v. Laboratory Corp.

Catalina Mktg. Int’l v. Coolsavings.com, Inc., 289 F.3d at 808-09, 62 USPQ2d at 1785
[C]lear reliance on the preamble during prosecution to distinguish the claimed invention from the prior art transforms the preamble into a claim limitation because such reliance indicates use of the preamble to define, in part, the claimed invention.  
Without such reliance, however, a preamble generally is not limiting when the claim body describes a structurally complete invention such that deletion of the preamble phrase does not affect the structure or steps of the claimed invention.

Poly-America LP v. GSE Lining Tech. Inc., 383 F.3d 1303, 1310, 72 USPQ2d 1685, 1689 (Fed. Cir. 2004)
[T]he court stated that “a ‘[r]eview of the entirety of the ’047 patent reveals that the preamble language relating to ‘blown-film’ does not state a purpose or an intended use of the invention, but rather discloses a fundamental characteristic of the claimed invention that is properly construed as a limitation of the claim….’”
casetext: Poly-America, L.P. v. GSE Lining Technology, Inc.

Intirtool, Ltd. v. Texar Corp., 369 F.3d 1289, 1294-96, 70 USPQ2d 1780, 1783-84 (Fed. Cir. 2004)
[H]olding that the preamble of a patent claim directed to a “hand-held punch pliers for simultaneously punching and connecting overlapping sheet metal” was not a limitation of the claim because (i) the body of the claim described a “structurally complete invention” without the preamble, and (ii) statements in prosecution history referring to “punching and connecting” function of invention did not constitute “clear reliance” on the preamble needed to make the preamble a limitation.


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