Oral Argument of the Day: In re Nordt Development Co., LLC

The oral argument of the day is from IN RE NORDT DEVELOPMENT CO., LLC, No. 2017-1445 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 8, 2018).

The argument focuses on whether the term “injection molded” should have been treated as a structural limitation by the USPTO during prosecution.

In part, the Federal Circuit opinion states:

Moreover, as we have explained, “words of limitation that can connote with equal force a structural characteristic of the product or a process of manufacture are commonly and by default interpreted in their structural sense, unless the patentee has demonstrated otherwise.” 3M Innovative Props. Co. v. Avery Dennison Corp.,350 F.3d 1365, 1371-72 (Fed. Cir. 2003). Indeed, since Garnero, we have in numerous instances held such limitations to convey structure even when they also describe a process of manufacture. See, e.g., Hazani v. U.S. Int’l Trade Comm’n,126 F.3d 1473, 1479 (Fed. Cir. 1997) (concluding that “chemically engraved” was not a process term); Vanguard Prods. Corp. v. Parker Hannifin Corp., 234 F.3d 1370, 1372 (Fed. Cir. 2000) (holding that the claim term “integral” describes a structural requirement, not the particular manufacturing process discussed in the specification); 3M Innovative Props. Co., 350 F.3d at 1371 (finding “superimposed” to describe a structural relationship and not a process); SmithKline Beecham Corp. v. Apotex Corp., 439 F.3d 1312, 1322 (Fed. Cir. 2006) (Newman, J., dissenting)(listing “a molded plastic” as an example of a process limitation that connotes structure). Here, not only does the specification itself convey a structural meaning to “injection molded,” Nordt has repeatedly represented that it does.

The court’s opinion is available [here].

The oral argument is available here:


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