On June 12, 2013, Chief ALJ Charles E. Bullock issued the public version of Order No. 69 (dated May 22, 2013) construing certain disputed terms in Certain Wiper Blades (Inv. No. 337-TA-816).

By way of background, the investigation is based on a complaint filed by Robert Bosch LLC (“Bosch”) alleging violation of Section 337 in the importation and sale of certain “flat” or “beam-type” wiper blade devices that infringe one or more claims of the asserted patents.  See our October 27, 2011 post for more details.  On August 31, 2012, a Markman order issued finding certain terms of the asserted patents indefininte.  Thus, the ALJ declined to construe all of the disputed terms contained within those claims.  Following these findings, as explained in our October 5, 2012 post, ALJ Bullock granted summary determination of invalidity and noninfringement as to certain of the remaining asserted claims.  The Commission determined to review these summary judgment orders and the claim constructions they turned upon resulting in a reversal of ALJ Bullock’s findings of indefiniteness.  See our April 29, 2013 post for more details.  Accordingly, Order No. 69 provides claim constructions for those limitations of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,836,926 (the ‘926 patent) and 6,973,698 (the ‘698 patent) not previously construed by ALJ Bullock in his original Markman order.

The ‘926 Patent

The meaning of two phrases used in the claim limitations of the ‘926 patent were disputed: “Izz is a moment of inertia of a cross sectional profile around a z-axis perpendicular to an taxis [sic] which adapts along with the support element (12), and perpendicular to a y-axis” and “wherein the support element (12) has a substantially rectangular cross sectional profile (40), with a substantially constant width b and a substantially constant thickness d.” 

As to the first disputed phrase of the ‘926 patent, “Izz is a moment of inertia of a cross sectional profile around a z-axis perpendicular to an taxis [sic] which adapts along with the support element (12), and perpendicular to a y-axis,” ALJ Bullock agreed with all parties that “an taxis” was a typographical error and should have read “an s-axis,” but also ultimately agreed with the Commission Investigative Staff (“OUII”) that the claim did not limit the orientation of the y and z axes beyond requiring that the be perpendicular to the s-axis, construing the phrase to mean “Izz is a moment of inertia of a cross sectional profile around a z-axis perpendicular to an s-axis which adapts along with the support element, and perpendicular to a y-axis.” 

Regarding the second disputed phrase of the ‘926 patent, “wherein the support element (12) has a substantially rectangular cross sectional profile (40), with a substantially constant width b and a substantially constant thickness d,” ALJ Bullock agreed with both the OUII and Bosch that the term should be interpreted according to its plain and ordinary meaning.

The ‘698 Patent

With respect to the ‘698 patent, the meaning of three phrases used in the claim limitations of the were also disputed: “an elongated spring-elastic carrying element disposed on a side of the wiper strip remote from the window,” “spherically curved window,” and “a concave curvature in said center section of the carrying element is sharper than in said sections thereof.”

As to the first disputed phrase of the ‘698 patent, “an elongated spring-elastic carrying element disposed on a side of the wiper strip remote from the window,” ALJ Bullock again agreed with both the OUII and Bosch that the term should be interpreted according to its plain and ordinary meaning.

With regard to the second phrase of the ‘698 patent, “spherically curved window,” the ALJ again agreed with the OUII and Bosch, interpreting that term as “a window having at least one radius of curvature.”

Finally, as to the third disputed phrase of the ‘698 patent, “a concave curvature in said center section of the carrying element is sharper than in said sections thereof,” ALJ Bullock adopted none of the parties’ or OUII’s proposed constructions, finding instead that the word “thereof” referred to sections of the spring elastic carrying element not to the wiper strip.  Thus, the ALJ construed the last term as “a concave curvature in the center section of the carrying element is sharper than the end sections of the carrying element.”