Nicholas Seckel

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Harris Corp. v. Fed Ex: “Black Box” Claim Construction by Split Federal Circuit Panel Leaves us in the Dark

Over a dissent by Judge Wallach, Judges Clevenger and Lourie strictly interpreted the “antecedent basis” in the claims, resulting in a reversal of the trial judge’s claim interpretation, and a remand for him to reconsider his patent infringement judgment. It would probably have helped the patentee if the description had included broadening statements regarding the type of data that may be generated, stored and transmitted. Claim language is given the “broadest reasonable interpretation” during examination at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, but a Federal Court’s “entirely reasonable” interpretation will often be significantly narrower, even when the claim has a “comprising” transition and generic terminology.