Claim Interpretation and Use of Objects of Invention and Cited Prior Art as Intrinsic Evidence

V-Formation claimed that Benetton’s in-line skates infringed 3 of V-Formation’s patents (U.S. Patent Nos. 5,873,584; 5,803,466; and 6,045,143).  One patent was still at issue on appeal, the 5,803,466 patent.  In particular, the interpretation of the claim term “releasably attaching” found in claims 1 and 9 was at issue.  The district court focused on the “intrinsic record” of the 5,803,466 patent.  The district court construed the claim term by looking at the specification and a listed object of the invention.  Additionally, and most interestingly, the district court construed the prior art cited by V-Formation as “intrinsic evidence” and therefore relied upon the disclosure in U.S. Patent No. 5,549,310 issued to Meibock to interpret the claims of the 5,803,466 patent.  Thus, applicants should be aware when using terms that references cited in an Information Disclosure Statement are construed as part of the intrinsic record of the patent and any claim terms that are used contrarily to the use of the cited reference should be defined explicitly in the specification.  V-Formation, Inc. v. Benetton Group SPA, Rollerblade, Inc., 03-1408 (Fed. Cir. March 15, 2005).

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