Construing the phrase “optical signal”

The oral argument in Cheetah Omni v. Samsung Electronics, et al., 2010-1169 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 12, 2010) is interesting in that it dealt with the construction of the term “optical signal” and whether in view of the underlying facts for the patent at issue that term should be construed to mean that information must be carried by the “optical signal.” 

The plaintiff-appellant argued that in view of the facts, such as (1) that the claim language recited “optical signal carrying information” (which would make the language “carrying information” redundant if “optical signal” itself were construed to mean carrying information) and that (2) the patent office only applied references during prosecution that were light beams not including information, among other arugments, that the term “optical signal” should be construed to mean that no information may be carried by the optical signal.  The defendant-appellee noted that all four examples in the specification used “optical signal” to mean that information was carried by the optical signal.

Curiously, the Federal Circuit issued another Rule 36 opinion.  It seems to me that the appellant’s redundancy argument warrants a more detailed opinion and takes the appeal out of Rule 36 territory.

Judge Clevenger made the following comment that there is no such thing as one hundred percent certitude when it comes to claim construction: [Listen]. 

You can listen to the entire oral argument here: [Listen].

Here is a link to the court’s Rule 36 opinion: [Link].

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