On March 4, 2013, the International Trade Commission (the “Commission”) issued the public version of its opinion (dated March 1, 2013) in Certain Wiper Blades (Inv. No. 337-TA-816).
By way of background, Chief ALJ Charles E. Bullock issued Order No. 63 granting Respondents Corea Autoparts Producing Corporation, CAP America, and PIAA Corporation USA’s (collectively, “CAP”) motion for summary determination of non-infringement of all asserted claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,675,434 for the accused CAP wiper blades. See our February 20, 2013 post for more details.
According to the opinion, the Commission determined that ALJ Bullock improperly construed the disputed claim term “pointing toward the other end portion is disposed on each of the two end portions of the support element” as “projecting beyond the support element such that it can point towards the other end of the support element.” Specifically, the Commission held that ALJ Bullock’s claim construction erroneously included a “projecting” limitation, which was a limitation ALJ Bullock included based upon his analysis of the preferred embodiments. The Commission determined that claim terms must be given their plain and ordinary meaning unless: (1) the patentee sets out a definition and acts as his own lexicographer, or (2) the patentee expressly disavows the full scope of the claim term. The Commission held that the patentee did not act as his own lexicographer or disavow the full claim scope by including a shoulder detent that “projected” outward in all of the preferred embodiments. Accordingly, the Commission held that the disputed claim term must be given its plain and ordinary meaning. Based on the Commission’s determination that ALJ Bullock applied an incorrect claim construction, the Commission vacated Order No. 63.