The meaning of “each” ….

I posted a few weeks ago about the case In re Skvorecz in which there was a discussion about the meaning of “each” when used to refer back to a plurality of items.  [LINK]  I stumbled across an oral argument from 2006 where the panel again was trying to understand what “each” meant in this context.

The claim at issue read: 

Claim 1 from 4,870,287

The relevant language was “a plurality of separate patient treatment stations each having a patient support for orienting a patient in a fixed position” and “a gantry at each treatment station.”

The defendant’s attorney argued that “each” meant “every.”   Judge Linn questioned whether, in a situation where there were three patient treatment stations, “a gantry at each treatment station” could mean that only two of the treatment stations need have a gantry while the third need not necessarily have a gantry.   Judge Bryson also suggested that perhaps there was some ambiguity as to the meaning of “each.”

Here is what defendant’s counsel argued: [Listen]

Here is what plaintiff’s counsel argued: [Listen]

Ultimately, the court did not address the meaning of “each” in its opinion since the patent was found invalid.  But, if one has to argue about the meaning of “each” for six minutes of an oral argument, I would question whether “each” indeed has a common and ordinary meaning.

You can read the court’s opinion here: [Read]

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

One Response to “The meaning of “each” ….”

  1. […] these earlier posts with respect to the word “each”:  [Link], [Link], and […]