« Diabetic | Main | Deep Fryer »

February 2, 2010

Inherent Anticipation

Abbott sued Beckton, Dickinson and Company and Nova Biomedical for infringing 5,628,890, which claims a glucose sensor. A jury found '890 anticipated. Abbott appealed the trial judge's jury instruction over the meaning of anticipation. The CAFC surveyed the boundary of inherency, and found the nugget: "all elements must be disclosed in an anticipatory reference in the same way as they are arranged or combined in the claim."

Abbott v. Becton, Dickinson and Company and Nova Biomedical (CAFC 2009-1008, -1009, -1010, -1034, -1035, -1036, -1037) precedential

The district court judge, applying the imaginary §102 jigsaw puzzle rule, told the jury that anticipation didn't require expressly laying "out the elements in the exact way laid out in the claim," only "that all of the claimed elements could have been arranged as in the claimed invention."

The district court instructed the jury on the law of anticipation as follows:

For anticipation, it is not enough that all of the elements could have been found among two or more references. If, at the time of the patent application, a single prior-art reference already described all of the elements of the claimed invention and would have informed those skilled in the art that those elements could have been arranged as in the claimed invention, then the prior-art reference is deemed to "anticipate" the claimed invention and thereby render it unpatentable and thus invalid. It would not be enough, however, that all of the elements were in random passages in the reference. By the same token, for anticipation to apply, it is not necessary that the prior-art reference expressly lay out the elements in the exact way laid out in the claim. Rather, for anticipation, it is sufficient if the single reference would have informed those skilled in the art that all of the claimed elements could have been arranged as in the claimed invention.

J.A. 5912 (emphases added).

The CAFC found the instruction incorrect "because it makes sufficient, for purposes of anticipation, a prior art disclosure of individual claim elements that 'could have been arranged' in a way that is not itself described or depicted in the anticipatory reference."

The way in which the elements are arranged or combined in the claim must itself be disclosed, either expressly or inherently, in an anticipatory reference. "Anticipation requires the presence in a single prior art disclosure of all elements of a claimed invention arranged as in the claim." Connell v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 722 F.2d 1542, 1548 (Fed. Cir. 1983). The requirement that the prior art elements themselves be "arranged as in the claim" means that claims cannot be "treated . . . as mere catalogs of separate parts, in disregard of the part-to-part relationships set forth in the claims and that give the claims their meaning." Lindemann Maschinenfabrik GMBH v. Am. Hoist & Derrick Co., 730 F.2d 1452, 1459 (Fed. Cir. 1984). "[U]nless a reference discloses within the four corners of the document not only all of the limitations claimed but also all of the limitations arranged or combined in the same way as recited in the claim, it cannot be said to prove prior invention of the thing claimed and, thus, cannot anticipate under 35 U.S.C. § 102." Net MoneyIN, Inc. v. VeriSign, Inc., 545 F.3d 1359, 1371 (Fed. Cir. 2008) (emphasis added).

The concept of "inherent disclosure" does not alter the requirement that all elements must be disclosed in an anticipatory reference in the same way as they are arranged or combined in the claim. "[A]nticipation by inherent disclosure is appropriate only when the reference discloses prior art that must necessarily include the unstated limitation . . . ." Transclean Corp. v. Bridgewood Servs., Inc., 290 F.3d 1364, 1373 (Fed. Cir. 2002). "Inherency, however, may not be established by probabilities or possibilities. The mere fact that a certain thing may result from a given set of circumstances is not sufficient." Cont'l Can Co. USA, Inc. v. Monsanto Co., 948 F.2d 1264, 1269 (Fed. Cir. 1991) (quoting In re Oelrich, 666 F.2d 578, 581 (CCPA 1981)); see also Trintec Indus., Inc. v. Top-U.S.A. Corp., 295 F.3d 1292, 1295 (Fed. Cir. 2002) ("Inherent anticipation requires that the missing descriptive material is 'necessarily present,' not merely probably or possibly present, in the prior art." (quoting In re Robertson, 169 F.3d 743, 745 (Fed. Cir. 1999))). For a claim to be anticipated, each claim element must be disclosed, either expressly or inherently, in a single prior art reference, and the claimed arrangement or combination of those elements must also be disclosed, either expressly or inherently, in that same prior art reference.

Posted by Patent Hawk at February 2, 2010 2:48 AM | Prior Art

Comments

Ooo this looks like a keeper.

Posted by: Defector at February 2, 2010 9:50 AM

Hawk,

Did you spot those NTP decisions by the BPAI on Feb. 4th? Rehearing denied on a whole slew of patents. I'm wondering if we'll see NTP suing in District Court soon.

Posted by: step back at February 6, 2010 5:12 AM

step back,

I'm sorry - you have confused Hawk with someone who gives a flying squirrel about comments, or someone who cares enough to read them (at least intelligently). If you want to hold a discussion (debate?), you might try Gene's blog.

;-p

Posted by: Noise above Law at February 6, 2010 6:32 AM

you have confused Hawk with someone who gives a flying squirrel about comments

The Queen of the Douchebags speaks again!

And again.

And again.

And again...

Posted by: Registered User at February 9, 2010 11:04 PM