Claim Interpretation And Use of Specification, Prosecution History, And Common Meaning To Interpret “Mounted On”

In the context of a claimed processing system in which a first communication means and a first microcomputer are mounted on a transportable container and are in communication with a second communication means and a second microcomputer mounted on a workstation, the patent owner attempted to interpret the phrase “mounted on” to include electrical connections such that the claims are not limited to only physical attachments between the second microcomputer and the workstation.  The Federal Circuit held that, where an ordinary meaning is present and is consistent with the specification and statements made to the Examiner during prosecution history of the issued patent and its parent application to distinguish over prior art references, broader meanings are not adopted.  Further, a conclusory statement by an expert is insufficient to broaden the term “mounted on” to include electrical connections. Thus, the term “mounted on” does not read on mere electrical connections to a microcomputer.  Lastly, since the term “mounted on” is binary in nature, the term “mounted on” cannot be used by the doctrine of equivalents to read on an item which is not “mounted on” since doing so would violate the all elements rule of claim construction by vitiating a claim term.  Asyst Techn. Inc. v. Emtrak, Inc., Civ. Case No. 04-1048, -1064 (Fed. Cir. March 22, 2005).

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