Presentation on theme: "CIER-lezing Ex parte maatregelen"— Presentation transcript:
1CIER-lezing Ex parte maatregelen 1 april 2009CIER-lezing Ex parte maatregelen
2Claim construction 69 EPC Extent of patent protection shall be determined by the claims. Nevertheless the description and drawings shall be used to interpret the claims.Protocol:1: interpretation which combines fair protection for the patentee with a reasonable degree of legal certainty for third parties2: due account shall be taken of any element which is equivalent to an element specified in the claims.
3A. Contextual interpretation A Relevant context when interpreting a patent claim in NL:1 Description and drawings2 Prior art3 Prosecution history – file wrapper estoppel
41. Description and drawings a Definitionsb Examplesc Inventive conceptNL: the inventive concept behind the exact wording of the claims is a ‘perspective’UK: part of ‘purposive construction’: What would a person skilled in the art have understood the patentee to have used the language of the claim to mean?
5c. Inventive concept Determining inventive concept Problem to be solvedClaimed advantagesInterpreting a feature functionallyDifference NL-UK/DE: In NL this excercise is done by reading the prosecution history as wellNot allowed:Disregard features on the basis of inventive concept
62. Prior art a Common general knowledge Court determines how the skilled person reads claims in context, in light of description and drawings, using his ‘open toolbox’ with common general knowledgeb Cited prior art (included in description by reference)c Other prior art – Gillette/Formstein
7c. Other prior art Gillette defence Lord Moulton in Gillette Safety Razor Co v Anglo- American Trading Co (1913)Competitor “is entitled to feel secure if he knows that what which he is doing differs from that which has been done of old only in non-patentable (i.e. obvious) variations such as the substitution of mechanical equivalents or changes in material, shape or size”In DE known as Formstein defence
8c. Other prior art Gillette defence Materially a disguised nullity attack on a contingent ‘squeeze’ basis:Either I do not infringe the patent because what I do is state of the art / merely an obvious variation thereofOr the patent is invalid due to lack of novely / inventive stepIn DE bifurcation; considered as defence against equivalence: there cannot be infringement under the doctrine of equivalents as broadening the scope of the claim would bring it into the realm of the state of the art
9Gillette defence Example SKB v FAL DUIVEN 22/03/2006Claims are for PHH – unrestricted compound claimPHA no longer patented – free productPHA may under certain circumstances (such as pressure used when making tablets) transform into PHH spontaneouslyNo infringement, as defendant must be able to do what was already known in the state of the art (making tablets) with the ‘free’ compound PHA
103. Prosecution history To pinpoint ‘Anchora cat schemes’: What was previously said to be outside the scope of the patent to argue novelty / inventive step, cannot be lateron argued to be within the scope of the claim when claiming infringementThe patentee is considered to have abandoned protection now sought for.
113. Prosecution historyNot in UK and DE, but i.a. in US, NL, Scandinavian countries, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, China and Japan; France to a limited extentNL:Always possible for third parties to refer to file (which is on line), so: to the disadvantage of the patentee (SC Dijkstra/Saier)The patentee may only refer to the file when the claim is unclear; but: unclear scope is in principle a problem for patentee, so: not ruled out, but seems only theoretical possibility
12Prosecution history Effect of the file wrapper history rule: judge nearly always reads what the file says on scope of protection –>Evaluation specific equivalents often redundant
19Prosecution history example Occlutech / AGA Medicalclaim element ‘clamps are adapted to clamp the strands at the opposed ends of the device’Added during examination to overcome nullity argument examinerNL: claim element means there must be two clamps. Cannot be interpreted functionally resulting in there only one clamp being required; would contravene legal certainty of third partiesFor same reason: no equivalenceNo infringementDE: interpreted functionally as ‘a clamp’; claim infringed
20Why different outcome?Bifurcation makes it possible for the patentee to argue an expansive interpretation when asserting infringement and argue for a narrow interpretation of his claim when defending it (anchora cat)Absence of file wrapper estoppel in DE
21B. Equivalents Dutch approach Article 69 Protocol paragraph 2No clearly defined doctrine of equivalents in NLDutch Supreme Court leaves it to factual CourtsSometimes used: insubstantial differences, (particularly in chemical cases)Most commonly used in NL:Function – way – result approach:Is with essentially the same means (taking into account the function it performs)In essentially the same wayEssentially the same result obtained,when compared with the relevant claim element
22Equivalents Dutch approach Applying function-way-result automatically entails determining inventive concept of the claimEssentially the same function in essentially the same way providing essentially the same resultIn practice not too problematic an exercise:Put on the glasses of the skilled person, open the CGK toolbox of that person and determine whether he reads the modified means as falling within the meaning of the claim or notRather down to earth: usually the way or the result is clearly different and thus not essentially the same
23Equivalents Dutch approach No equivalence if the device with the modified element is to be considered inventive vis-a-vis the patent claim invokedThe Dutch approach in determining scope (looking at inventive concept as a perspective) nearly always entails taking in equivalentsVery similar to UK and DE approachNo substantial differences in outcome in UK / NL / DE
24Thank you for your attention Rian KaldenDistrict Court The HagueE:T: + 31 (0)