The following is excerpted from a Dewey & LeBoeuf IP Watch regarding Nos. 08-1306, -1331, Fed. Cir. (Newman, Gajarsa,* Dyk):
Just as a patentee who seeks to prove infringement must provide a structural analysis by demonstrating that the accused device has the identified corresponding structure or an equivalent structure, a challenger who seeks to demonstrate that a means-plus-function limitation was present in the prior art must prove that the corresponding structure—or an equivalent—was present in the prior art.
On September 10, 2009, the Federal Circuit affirmed-in-part, reversed-inpart, vacated-in-part and remanded the district court’s judgment that Fresenius infringed U.S. Patents No. 5,247,434, No. 5,744,027, and No. 6,284,131, which related to a hemodialysis machine integrated with a touch screen user interface. The Federal Circuit stated:
The district court determined that Fresenius failed to present substantial evidence that various non-touch-screen limitations of the asserted claims were present in the prior art. The district court also found that Fresenius did not present substantial evidence of a motivation to combine the elements of the prior art to achieve the invention claimed in the ’131 and ’434 patents. Fresenius argues that the non-touch-screen limitations in the asserted claims were standard in prior art hemodialysis machines and that it presented substantial evidence of such to the jury. Baxter contends the asserted claims are nonobvious, or at a minimum, that Fresenius failed to meet its burden of proving invalidity by clear and convincing evidence. For the following reasons, we reverse the district court’s grant of Baxter’s JMOL motion, except as to claims 26–31 of the ’434 patent. . . .
All of the claims on appeal are directed to a hemodialysis machine integrated with a touch screen user interface, which Baxter contends was novel and nonobvious at the time the relevant patent applications were filed. Fresenius contends that touch screens were well-known in the prior art and had been widely employed—even on other medical devices—such that Baxter’s addition of a touch screen interface to an otherwise conventional hemodialysis machine would have been obvious and thus unpatentable. . . .Under KSR, “if a technique has been used to improve one device, and a person of ordinary skill in the art would recognize that it would improve similar devices in the same way, using the technique is obvious unless its actual application is beyond his or her skill.”
Read the full IP Watch here.