Ibormeith IP, LLC v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Patents
  • Date Filed: 09-05-2012
  • Case #: 10-5378
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Hochberg
  • Full Text Opinion

For “means-plus-function” claims using algorithms, one must disclose it so as to show how its structure, material, or act supports the patent claim.

Opinion (Hochberg): Ibormeith IP, LLC (“Ibormeith“) took action against Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (“Mercedes”) for infringement of the 1, 5, 8, and 9 claims of Ibormeith’s ’749 patent. The ’749 patent claim’s subject matter related to a sleepiness monitor for vehicle drivers and machine operators. During the Court’s claim construction hearing and in Mercedes’s claim construction briefs, Mercedes asserted the “means-plus-function” claims used by Ibormeith to show definiteness in the 1 and 9 claims to the ’749 patent were actually indefinite. Since claims 5 and 8 relied on claim 1, Mercedes moved for Summary Judgment of Indefiniteness. Claims 1 and 9 each performed three functions that were based on variables such as circadian rhythm, steering corrections, temperature, etc., and were implemented by a computer. Therefore, the Court determined that the algorithms used by the computer needed to be disclosed. Because Ibormeith failed to disclose how each of the variables in its algorithms were calculated, and only described what their functions were, the Court treated the claims as if no algorithms were disclosed at all. Mercedes’s Motion for Summary Judgment was GRANTED.

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