Monday, January 23, 2012

Inventors' Inability to Define Claim Term Does Not Render Claim Indefinite

The court denied defendant's motion for summary judgment that plaintiff's user interface patent was invalid as indefinite. "[Defendant] argues that the [patent-in-suit] is invalid because its use of the term 'heuristic' renders the patent indefinite. . . . [Defendant's] primary evidence of indefiniteness consists of statements in depositions of nine of the inventors listed in the patent, most of whom concede that 'heuristics' is 'sort of a vague word' or are otherwise unable to define it. But defining a word is often more difficult than grasping its meaning in a specific context. It is 'particularly inappropriate to consider inventor testimony obtained in the context of litigation in assessing validity under section 112, paragraph 2, in view of the absence of probative value of such testimony.' And in fact some of the inventors were able to define the term . . . and both parties were able to offer definitions for purposes of claim construction."

Apple, Inc. v. Motorola, Inc. et al, 1-11-cv-08540 (ILND January 17, 2012, Order) (Posner, C.J.)

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