Defining Claim Terms

The Federal Circuit found that the Federal district court did not err in looking to dictionary definitions, before patent specification, in construing disputed term “high frequency” in claim for wired broadcasting system.  The Federal Circuit noted that dictionaries, encyclopedias, and treatises, publicly available at the time the patent is issued, are objective resources that serve as reliable sources of information on the established meanings that would have been attributed to the terms of the claims of skill in the art.  The Federal Circuit also noted that because words often have multiple dictionary definitions, some having no relation to claimed invention, the intrinsic record must always be consulted to identify which of the possible dictionary meaning of the claimed terms in issue is most consistent with the use of the words by the inventor.  (Intellectual Property Development Inc. v. UA-Columbia Cablevision of Westchester Inc., 67 USPQ2d 1385, CA FC, 7/21/03).


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