Case: Ancora Technologies, Inc. v. Apple, Inc., No. 13-1378, No. 2013-1378, -1414 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 3, 2014) (precedential). On appeal from N.D. Cal. Before Rader,Taranto and Chen.
Summary: CAFC rules on issues of claim construction and indefiniteness.
Procedural Posture: Plaintiff, patentee, appealed final judgment of non-infringement. Defendant, accused infringer, cross-appealed final judgment of validity. CAFC affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.
- Claim Construction: The district court erred in construing “program” to mean “a set of instructions for software applications that can be executed by a computer.” First, the ordinary meaning of the claim term, in a computer context, encompassed both operating systems and the applications that run on them. Second, nothing in the specification clearly narrowed the term “program.” Third, the term “program” in the claims referred exclusively to the to-be-verified program. Lastly, statements made during prosecution history did not rise to the level of a disclaimer regarding the nature of the to-be-verified software.
- Section 112 Issues (Indefiniteness): The district court was correct to reject Apple’s challenge to “volatile memory” and “non-volatile memory” as indefinite. First, there was no dispute that the terms “volatile memory” and “non-volatile memory” had a meaning that was clear, settled, and objective in content. Both parties and the district court agreed to the general definitions. Second, nothing in the specification purported to set out a definition for “volatile” and “non-volatile” memory, and nothing in the specification read like a disclaimer of the clear ordinary meaning. Lastly, the prosecution history eliminated any reasonable basis for thinking that the patent had adopted a meaning different from the clear ordinary one.