Friday, July 1, 2011

Claim Reciting Software "Engine" Does Not Invoke § 112 ¶ 6 And Does Not Require Disclosure of Algorithm to Perform Engine's Functions

The magistrate judge recommended denying defendant's motion for summary judgment that plaintiffs' web-based database patent was invalid as indefinite. "[Defendant] contends that the 'engine for' claims are purely functional and should be construed under 35 U.S.C. § 112 ¶ 6. [Defendant] further contends that the term 'engine' does not connote sufficient structure to satisfy § 112 ¶ 6, nor does the [patent-in-suit] recite algorithms that perform the recited functions. . . . As a threshold matter, the Court declines to construe the 'engine' elements as means-plus-function terms. The claims reciting engines do not claim a 'means for' performing a function, which raises a presumption against construing the 'engine' claims under § 112 ¶ 6. . . . The fact that the claims define 'engine' in functional terms does not necessarily overcome the presumption that § 112 ¶ 6 should not apply. . . . [T]he term 'engine' conveys structure to one of ordinary skill in the art. Not only did the Examiner acknowledge that an engine is a 'software application' or software module, but [defendant] apparently agrees. . . ."

Stragent, LLC, et. al. v. Amazon.Com, Inc., et. al., 6-10-cv-00225 (TXED June 27, 2011, Order) (Love, M.J.)

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