Digest of LIGHTING BALLAST CONTROL V. PHILIPS ELECS. N. AM. CORP, No. 2014-1014 (Fed. Cir. June 23, 2015) (precedential). On appeal from N.D. Tex. Rader, O’Malley, and Reyna.
Procedural Posture: Returning on remand from SCOTUS for reconsideration in light ofTeva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc., defendant appealed final judgment of infringement and validity. CAFC affirmed.
- Waiver: Appellant did not re-raise its proposed claim construction and indefiniteness arguments in JMOL during trial or renewed JMOL after the verdict, and no objection was made to the jury instruction regarding the claim term at issue. The Federal Circuit determined that appellant was not required to renew its claim construction and indefiniteness arguments to preserve them for appeal, where appellant made clear to the district court its position, and the issue was resolved by the district court prior to trial.
- Means-plus-function: The district court was correct to conclude that the term “voltage source means” was not governed by § 112, ¶6. Expert testimony supported a conclusion that the “voltage source means” limitation was not means-plus-function because it conveyed the defined structure of a rectifier or battery to one of ordinary skill in the art. It was not legal error for the district court to rely on extrinsic evidence, because the extrinsic evidence was “not used to contradict claim meaning that is unambiguous in light of the intrinsic evidence.” The Federal Circuit deferred to these factual findings absent a showing that they were clearly erroneous.
- Waiver: Appellant argued that the asserted claims would be anticipated without the district court’s modified construction of “direct current blocking means,” which added a limitation that helped the claims avoid prior art. The Federal Circuit concluded that the appellant did not preserve its right to raise this argument, and rejected the appellant’s argument that it would have failed on its anticipation defense while operating under the district court’s amended claim construction. The appellant did not preserve its right to appeal because anticipation is a question of fact, and questions of fact must be presented to the jury.
- Claim Construction: The parties disagreed as to whether the claims required a capacitor or diode coupled to every set of output terminals, or only those through which the DC control signal passes. The district court’s construction of “direct current blocking means” was not erroneous, where the plain language of the claims required a direct current blocking means at every output terminal.
- Claim Construction: The district court’s construction of “defective” was not erroneous where the intrinsic record provided support in the specification.
- Waiver: Appellant waived its right to seek a new claim construction for the term “connected to” because it did not seek that construction until after trial.
- Appellate Jurisdiction: Applying 5th Cir. law, the Federal circuit refused to reverse the district court’s opinion on JMOL regarding the “control means” term. Appellate courts cannot independently reweigh evidence when reviewing a final judgment issued by a district court.