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Absolute Software, Inc. and Absolute Software Corporation v. Stealth Signal, Inc. and Computer Security Products, Inc.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 10-11-2011
Case #: 2010-1503, -1504
Rader, Prost and O'Malley
Full Text Opinion: http://www.finnegan.com/files/Publication/390e7ed0-d6f4-40b7-9484-c0270d87bcb0/Presentation/PublicationAttachment/1b3e2dd8-2f5c-4431-b4ef-c861019818cc/10-1503%2010-11-11.pdf

Patents: A patentee's consistent use of the phrase "present invention" or "this invention" does not always limit the scope of the entire invention, particularly where other intrinsic evidence does not support applying the limitation to the entire patent.

The District Court for the Southern District of Texas entered summary judgment of non-infringement in favor of Absolute Software, Inc. and Absolute Software Corporation (collectively "Absolute"), and also in favor of Stealth Signal, Inc., and Computer Security Products, Inc. (collectively "Stealth"). Both sides challenged the district court's claim constructions and cross-appealed the grant of summary judgment of non-infringement for the opposing party. Absolute and Stealth both own patents on competing computer software "designed to track lost or stolen laptop computers." Despite disagreeing with the special master's finding that references to the "present invention" in the specification limited "the entire invention to the preferred embodiment," the Court found "the asserted claims themselves, and the specification relating to those claims" otherwise supported the district court's construction. A patentee's consistent use of the phrase "present invention" or "this invention" does not always limit the scope of the entire invention, particularly "where the references to a certain limitation as being the 'invention' are not uniform, or where other portions of the intrinsic evidence do[es] not support applying the limitation to the entire patent." Thus, the Court approved the district court's claim constructions, and AFFIRMED the summary judgment of non-infringement to Absolute. However, the Court found genuine issues of fact precluded summary judgment of non-infringement in favor of Stealth and REMANDED the case for further proceedings.