Claim Construction

Specification may limit claims if it suggests, when read as whole, that very character of invention requires limitation to be part of every embodiment.  Thus, if specification makes clear at various points that claimed invention is narrower than claimed language might imply, then it is permissible and proper to limit claims.  The court recognized that it must interpret the claims in light of the specification, yet avoid impermissibly importing limitations from the specification.  This balance turns on how the specification characterizes the claimed invention.  The court looks to whether the specification refers to a limitation only a part or less than all possible embodiments or whether the specification read as a whole suggests that the very character of the invention requires that limitation be a part of every embodiment.  For example, it is impermissible to read the one and only disclosed embodiment into a claim without other indicia that the patentee so intended to limit the invention.  On the other hand, where the specification makes clear at various points that the claimed invention is narrower than the claim language might imply, it is entirely permissible and proper to limit the claims.  (Alloc Inc. v. International Trade Commission, 68 USPQ2d 1161, CA FC, 9/10/03).

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