Digest of Albrecker v. Contour Products, Inc., No. 2014-1318 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 7, 2014) (non- precedential). On appeal from N.D. Ill. Before Prost, Newman, and Taranto (per curiam).

Procedural Posture: Patent holder, Mr. Albrecker, appealed summary judgment of non-infringement. CAFC affirmed.

  • Claim Construction: In construing an independent claim for a chair reciting “a top cushion…secured to the…foundation,” the district court held that “secured to” should mean “attached using attachment means.” Mr. Albrecker argued that such a construction was inconsistent with a valid dependent claim reciting that the “top cushion is integral and continuous…with the…foundation.” Although Mr. Albrecker argued that claim differentiation should axiomatically provide for an alternative claim construction, the CAFC found that the district court had properly applied claim differentiation as a guide and not as a rigid rule. The CAFC found that a claim construction decision should consider claim differentiation evidence and also other evidence regarding a contrary claim construction. As the record provided strong support for the “attached using attachment means” construction and insufficient evidence to support an alternative construction consistent with claim differentiation, the CAFC held that the district court had properly construed the recited phrase and that summary judgment of non-infringement was properly granted.