The Scripps Research Institute v. Illumina, Inc., 3-16-cv-00661 (CASD April 14, 2017, Order) (Sammartino, USDJ)
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Claim Construction Appropriate at Pleading Stage Where Patent Provides Explicit Definition
The court denied defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's direct patent infringement claim on the ground that plaintiff's claim was based on an implausible interpretation of its patent, but rejected plaintiff's argument that claim construction of its DNA microarray patent was premature. "[T]he Court concludes that it may properly construe a claim term at the pleading stage in certain circumstances. The purpose of a 12(b)(6) motion is, after all, to determine whether a plaintiff states a legally cognizable claim for relief. . . . Defendant’s argument is premised on what is perhaps one of the most appropriate exercises of claim construction at the pleading stage: a claim of lexicography; that is, that the [patent] itself allegedly provides an explicit definition of parameter 'a.'. . . The Court finds that there is merit to both parties’ arguments and thus the Court cannot say at this stage that Defendant’s construction is correct as a matter of law."