Digest of Robert Bosch, LLC v. Snap-On Inc., No. 2014-1040 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 14, 2014) (precedential). On appeal from E.D. Mich. Before Prost, Taranto, and Hughes.
Procedural Posture: Patent holder Robert Bosch, LLC appealed final judgment of invalidity for indefiniteness. CAFC affirmed.
Indefiniteness: The district court did not err in finding all claims of the asserted patent indefinite, because the patent’s specification did not disclose a corresponding structure for certain means-plus-function terms. The district court incorrectly applied the presumption of means-plus-function format to the “program recognition device” term; the claim recited “by means of” instead of “means,” and the CAFC held that this presumption flows from the recitation of “means” as a noun. This error was harmless, however, since the claim term invoked 35 U.S.C. § 112 ¶ 6 without this presumption. The district court correctly found that the “program recognition device” and “program loading device” claim terms were not supported by a sufficiently definite structure in the patent’s specification, and the CAFC affirmed the district court’s holding that all claims of the asserted were invalid as indefinite.