Definiteness and Patent Drafting: The Nautilus Surfaces
Two seminal cases illustrate the techniques of analyzing definiteness in a post-Nautilus world. One case followed Nautilus and the other preceded it, but that case demonstrates what stands of the old rationale. The first decision, Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc. v. Covidien, Inc., dealt with ultrasonicshears for cutting and sealing a blood vessel… A clear difference between the new “reasonable clarity” standard and the Federal Circuit’s “insolubly ambiguous” formulation is that the latter calls for considerable effort in seeking out a claim construction that comports with the inventor’s manifest intent. The new standard may require the same effort, but that result does not appear guaranteed by the language itself. The entire direction of patent law toward Disclosure World suggests that definiteness will continue to be governed in large part by the meaning drawn from the patent as a whole, not the claim language standing alone.