Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Patents, Claim Construction
  • Date Filed: 08-23-2013
  • Case #: No. 2012-1560
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • LexisNexis Citation: 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17627
  • Westlaw Citation: 2013 WL 4487603
  • Full Text Opinion

During claim construction, terms are not always afforded their ordinary meaning. The ordinary meaning of a term can be disclaimed and redefined through repeated and definitive remarks in the patents written description.

Opinion (Prost): SkinMedica, Inc. ("SkinMedica") owned the patents #494 and #746 covering the method for producing “conditioned cell mediums.” In particular, SkinMedica’s patents included the limitation that the cell culture medium used in its inventions must be conditioned by “culturing…cells in three-dimensions.” Originally, SkinMedica brought action against Histogen, Inc. ("Histogen") alleging infringement of its patents for three-dimensional conditioned cell mediums, but the district court granted Histogen’s motion for summary judgment. SkinMedica appealed this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals. The record showed that Histogen used beads in its method of conditioning cell mediums. The record also showed that SkinMedica expressly excluded the use of beads from its three-dimensional culturing process. It did so by stating its three-dimensional mediums had desirable properties not found in two-dimensional mediums and by explicitly defining beads as a two-dimensional culture method. The Court found that because SkinMedica plainly and repeatedly distinguished culturing with beads from culturing in three-dimensions that it effectively disclaimed the use of beads from potentially falling within any ordinary scope of the claim term “three-dimensional." Therefore, because Histogen’s method used beads it was unique from SkinMedica's method and it did not infringe SkinMedica’s patents. The Court held that the district court did not erroneously exclude beads from the definition of “culturing…cells in three dimensions” and therefore the summary judgment was AFFIRMED.

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