• Federal Circuit Tightens Squeeze on Software Patents – The Recorder

    The Recorder
    Federal Circuit Tightens Squeeze on Software Patents
    The Recorder
    Judge Jimmie V. Reyna, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit J. Albert Diaz. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has completed its one-two punch against vaguely worded means-plus-function patent claims. Sitting en banc
    Federal Circuit Strikes Its Own Blow Against Overbroad Software PatentsEFF
    Federal Circuit invalidates web conference patent, reverses itselfReuters
    Williamson v. Citrix: En Banc Opinion on § 112, para. 6Patently-O

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    $$ It can be seen from FIG. 3 that the transmission curves are approximately bell-shaped. / 透過曲線は、ほぼベル形であることが図3から分る。(USP7649626)

    $$ The ball retriever of claim 13 wherein the strap is H-shaped. (USP5800280)

    $$ The key may be V-shaped having two vertexes. (USP6965789)

    $$ Flow sensor 32 and the unseen sensor are L-shaped in construction for ease of fitment into head 20. (USP01025858)

    $$ The two parts 12, 14 are generally U-shaped and shaped to fit together in an overlapping fashion. / 2つの部分12、14は、一般的にU字形であり、重なり合ってはまり合うような形状になっている。(USP6860455): shaped to-V

    $$ Basically the wheels 44,46 are star-shaped, the teeth are triangular in side view and the wheels are positioned and arranged so that, as they rotate, the teeth mesh together. (USP02014009)

    $$ The waveguide structure is generally tree-shaped, having a main trunk 18, two first-level branches 20, and four second-level branches 22. / 光導波管構造16は、通常メイントランク18、2つの第1レベルのブランチ20及び4つの第2レベルのブランチ22を有するツリー形状である。(USP5408567)

    $$ However, the outlet ports do not have to be cylindrical, and they could for example be slot-shaped or arcuate. / しかし吐出口は円筒形である必要はなく、例えば溝穴状または円弧形とする事ができる。(USP6299422)

    $$ Another objective is to allow concentric-shaped images and unsupported images. (USP02018284)

    $$ In the FIG. 2 view, the casing 4 is shown with a minor modification which provides a bell-shaped opening 6 at the air entry end. / 図2において、ケーシング4は、気流入口端でベル形開口6にした小変更をともなって示されている。(USP7581381)

    $$ The other leg portions 201b of the L-shaped brackets 201 connect the brackets to respective pivot pins 256 extending through the panels 240. / L-形のブラケット201の他の脚部201bは、ブラケットを板240を通過して延びる、それぞれの枢支ピン256に接続する。(USP7575279)

    $$ Referring to FIG. 1, an apparatus according to the present invention comprises a generally L-shaped housing 1. (USP6253899)

    $$ Similarly to FIG. 2, the sealing element 50 comprises an annular metallic member of U-shaped cross-section, with at least one sealing bump 12 around its outer periphery and at least one sealing bump 14 around its inner surface. (USP02074742) 断面U字状の

    $$ The offset ball-shaped foam element 1 allows for maximum variation between ear shapes and sizes whilst reducing fatigue with prolonged use of the device. (USP6477258)

    $$ This tightens the clamp around the pole, so that the support is fictionally held by many similar-shaped surfaces. (USP6682031)

    $$ FIGS. 1A and 1B are schematic views of a substantially pen-shaped hand held data entry device. / 第1A図および第1B図は、実質的にペンの形状をなすハンドヘルドデータエントリ装置の概略図である。(USP6058304)

    $$ Exterior section 3 comprises a flange 7 which is a circular washer-shaped annulus, the axis 8 of which is at an angle of 30° to the axis 6 of the body section 2. / 外側部分3は円形のワッシャ状の環であるフランジ7を備え、その軸線8はボデー部分2の軸線6に対して角度30°にある。(USP6186974)

    $$ …quarter-disc-shaped side walls 30b, 30c…(USP6253899)

    $$ A cup-shaped rubber bush 51 is fitted in bearing section 55 of the portion 53 and a ceramic bearing 50 is received therein in known manner. (USP6524078)

    $$ In this example, the fluid pump 10 has a box-shaped housing 20 with a front plate 23 removably secured thereto by screws (not shown). / この実施例において、流体ポンプ10はボックス型ハウジング20を有し、このハウジングに対して正面プレート23がネジ(図示されていない)によって着脱自在に取付けられている。(USP6299422)

    $$ In an alternative to the preferred embodiment a small disk-shaped sensor is located proximate to the ear canal. (USP02076059)

    $$ An LED lamp according to claim 1 comprising light emitting elements having triangular-shaped top faces. (USP02063521)

    $$ The magnet 8 used in this exemplary bench-top system is a horseshoe-shaped magnet made from light weight, high temperature stable, bonded alloy. (USP02036501)

    $$ The DMD selectively reflects light of the properly-shaped aperture onto the stage. (USP02018284)

    $$ The tilt sensor comprises a housing 200 which defines therein a part-spherical or "bowl-shaped" surface 202. (USP01024586)

    $$ A device as claimed in claim 3, wherein at least one said hole of the read-out means is present at the end of a strip-shaped part of said body portion, which part extends into said recess from the ambipolar drift path. (USP4859851)

    $$ The rotor 200 of FIG. 1 includes twelve apertures 220 therethrough, each aperture being shaped like a segment of a flattened, planar, ring. / 図1のロータ200は、ロータを貫通する12個の開口部220を含み、各開口部は、扁平で平面的なリングの一部であるような形状をしている。(USP8624456)

    $$ The container may be shaped like a rectangular prism in which the first pair of opposing side walls are wider or longer than the second pair of opposing side walls. / 上記容器は、矩形のプリズム様の形状に形成され、対向する第1の対の側壁部が、対向する第2の対の側壁部より広いか又は長くてもよい。(USP8348143)

    $$ The shape of the teat is also similar to the human breast, the base portion 116 being shaped like a breast and having a wide, domed configuration. / 乳首の形状も人間の胸に似ており、ベース部116は胸のような形であって、広いドーム型に構成されている。(USP8181800)

    $$ The distal end of the first arm 35a is shaped like the bottom end of a hurling stick with the pivot point in the enlarged portion. (USP6253899)

    $$ In accordance with the invention, the handle is shaped like a "T" with the vertical stroke of the T (3) swivellably connected to the rope (1). (USP7223211)


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  • Federal Circuit Strikes Its Own Blow Against Overbroad Software Patents – EFF

    Federal Circuit Strikes Its Own Blow Against Overbroad Software Patents
    Today, in Williamson v. Citrix, the Federal Circuit overruled its ill-advised case law that has been one of the primary drivers of overbroad software patents. The court finally recognized that patent applicants cannot bypass certain limits on patent
    Federal Circuit Tightens Squeeze on Software PatentsThe Recorder
    Williamson v. Citrix: En Banc Opinion on § 112, para. 6Patently-O

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  • Williamson v. Citrix

    The result in Williamson v. Citrix:

    Because the district court erroneously
    construed the limitations “graphical display
    representative of a classroom” and “first graphical display
    comprising . . . a classroom region,” we vacate the judgment
    of non-infringement of claims 1–7 and 17–24 of
    the ’840 patent. Because the district court correctly
    construed the limitation “distributed learning control
    module,” we affirm the judgment of invalidity of claims 8–
    12 of the ’840 patent under 35 U.S.C. § 1122, para. 2.
    Accordingly, we remand.

    We agree with Williamson. The district court erred in
    construing these terms as requiring a “pictorial map.”
    First, the claim language itself contains no such “pictorial
    map” limitation. “[I]t is the claims, not the written description,
    which define the scope of the patent right.”
    Laitram Corp. v. NEC Corp., 163 F.3d 1342, 1347 (Fed.
    Cir. 1998); see also id. (“[A] court may not import limitations
    from the written description into the claims.”).
    While the specification discloses examples and embodiments
    where the virtual classroom is depicted as a “map”
    or “seating chart,” nowhere does the specification limit the
    graphical display to those examples and embodiments.
    This court has repeatedly “cautioned against limiting the
    claimed invention to preferred embodiments or specific
    examples in the specification.” Teleflex, Inc. v. Ficosa N.
    Am. Corp., 299 F.3d 1313, 1328 (Fed. Cir. 2002) (quoting
    cases) (citations omitted).

    The ’840 patent defines a classroom as “an at least
    partially virtual space in which participants can interact.”
    Id. at col.6 ll.5–6. Nothing further is required, and no
    greater definition is mandated by the language of the
    claims, the specification, or the prosecution history. As is
    well settled, the claims must “not be read restrictively
    unless the patentee has demonstrated a clear intention to
    limit the claim scope using words or expressions of manifest
    exclusion or restriction.” Innova/Pure Water, Inc., v.
    Safari Water Filtration Sys., Inc., 381 F.3d 1111, 1117
    (Fed. Cir. 2004) (internal quotations omitted).

    Judge Reyna writes separately

    This is the second time around for this case. In the
    first, Williamson I, I dissented from the majority conclusion
    that the “distributed learning control module” term
    of claim 8 of the ’840 patent recites sufficient structure to
    keep the claim limitation “distributed learning control
    module” outside of the purview of 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph
    In this second time around, Williamson II, the majority
    reverses itself to conclude that the “distributed learning
    control module” term does not recite sufficient
    structure, is governed by 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 6,
    and is indefinite under paragraph 2. Because this conclusion
    is the correct result, I concur. To explain my
    concurrence, I rely on the reasons I laid out in my dissent
    in Williamson I.
    The majority, however, continues to ignore critical evidence
    showing that an image of a visually depicted
    virtual classroom is required by claim 8 of the ‘840 patent.
    I dissent from that portion of this opinion.

    Of functional claiming

    Arguably, this rationale applies to functional claiming
    generally, not just to claims that recite “means.” Indeed,
    the Halliburton Court relied on precedent invalidating
    functional claims that did not recite the term “means.”
    Id. at 9 (citing Holland Furniture Co. v. Perkins Glue Co.,
    277 U.S. 245, 256–57 (1928).) The continued viability of
    this rationale, and its impact on how this Court applies
    § 112, para. 6 merits attention.
    In sum, my view is that perhaps we need to revisit our
    judicially-created § 112, para. 6 presumptions.

    Note footnote 1:

    The earlier opinion in this case, reported at 770
    F.3d 1371 (Fed. Cir. 2014), is withdrawn, and this opinion
    substituted therefore. Part II.C.1. of this opinion has
    been considered and decided by the court en banc. See
    Order in this case issued this date.

    Judge Newman’s dissent begins

    I respectfully dissent from the en banc ruling that is
    inserted into this panel opinion at Section II.C.1. The
    court en banc changes the law and practice of 35 U.S.C.
    § 112 paragraph 6, by eliminating the statutory signal of
    the word “means.” The purpose of this change, the benefit,
    is obscure. The result, however, is clear: additional
    uncertainty of the patent grant, confusion in its interpretation,
    invitation to litigation, and disincentive to patentbased

    link: http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/images/stories/opinions-orders/13-1130.Opinion.6-11-2015.1.PDF

    Our consideration of this case has led us to conclude
    that such a heightened burden is unjustified
    and that we should abandon characterizing as “strong” the
    tion that a limitation lacking the word “means” is not
    subject to §112, para. 6. That characterization
    is unwar-
    ranted, is uncertain in meaning and application,
    and has the inappropriate practical effect of placing a
    thumb on what should otherwise be a balanced
    analytical scale. It has
    shifted the balance struck by Congress in passing §
    112, para. 6 and has resulted in a proliferation of func-
    tional claiming untethered to §
    112, para. 6 and free of
    the strictures set forth in the statute.
    Henceforth, we will
    apply the presumption
    as we have done prior to
    Lighting World,
    without requiring any heightened evidentiary
    showing and expressly overrule the
    characterization of
    hat presumption as “strong.”

    We also overrule the
    strict requirement of “a showing that the limitation
    essentially is devoid of anything that can be construed as structure.”

    The standard is
    whether the words of the claim are
    understood by persons of ordinary skill in the art to have
    a sufficiently definite meaning
    as the name for structure. Greenberg, 91 F.3d at
    1583. When a claim term lacks the word “means,”
    the presumption can be overcome and §112, para. 6 will apply
    if the challenger demonstrates
    that the claim term fails to “recite sufficiently definite
    structure ” or else recites“
    function without reciting suffi-
    cient structure for performing that function.”

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