Friday, April 13, 2012

Claim Construction Violating Canons of Construction Justifies Rule 11 Sanctions

The court granted defendant's motion for Rule 11 sanctions following summary judgment of noninfringement and rejected plaintiff's argument that "a dispute over claim construction cannot be the basis for a sanctions motion [under] Q-Pharma, Inc. v. Andrew Jergens Co., 360 F. 3d 1295 (Fed. Cir. 2004), in which the Federal Circuit concluded that the plaintiff's claim interpretation, 'while broad, followed the standard canons of claim construction and was reasonably supported by the intrinsic record.'" "[I]n this case . . . Plaintiff's claim construction violates all the relevant canons of claim construction. I cannot conclude that an 'analysis' that adds words to the claim language in order to support a claim of infringement 'follow[s] standard canons of claim construction.'. . . To the extent that [plaintiff] is arguing that it is immune from sanctions simply because its attorneys aver that they construed the claim and compared them to the product before filing suit, it is simply wrong. . . . [T]he document on which [plaintiff] relies to support its claim of conducting 'pre-suit analysis' does not appear to be a pre-suit document. The only date the document bears is. . . more than two months after this lawsuit was filed, at a time when counsel for the parties were engaged in a debate over the merits of a claim already asserted."

Source Vagabond Systems, Ltd. v. Hydrapak, Inc., 1-11-cv-05379 (NYSD April 11, 2012, Order) (McMahon, J.)

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