Case: Applied Med. Res. Corp. v. Tyco Healthcare Grp. Lp, No. 2012-1412 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 27, 2013) (non-precedential). On appeal from C.D. Cal. Before Prost, Schall, and Reyna (per curiam).

Procedural Posture: Plaintiff Applied sued Defendant Covidien for infringement of U.S. Pat. No. RE 42,379 relating to seals for “trocars” used in laparoscopic surgeries. District court summarily dismissed the suit, finding that defendant’s device did not infringe. CAFC affirmed.

  • Literal Infringement: Parties did not dispute the district court’s claim construction that required the seal assembly on Covidien’s accused trocars to move laterally from side to side. CAFC agreed with the district court’s finding that Covidien’s trocar assembly does not move “laterally” as recited in Applied’s patent claims. Covidien’s assembly has a “hemisphere” gimbal design that rotates in place, and that “if one considers the lateral boundaries of the seal assembly, one finds no change.” CAFC disapproved of the district court’s interpretation of Applied’s patent claims that relied on an embodiment in the specification and that considered non-record material. However, CAFC determined that these deficiencies did not require reversal in light of its de novo review of summary judgment.
  • Doctrine of Equivalents: CAFC found no infringement, and agreed with the district court that Applied’s theory of equivalence would “vitiate” the claim limitation of “free lateral movement,” noting that allowing Covidien’s assembly’s gimbal rotation to be equivalent to side to side movement would render Applied’s claim limitation meaningless.