DYFAN, LLC v. TARGET CORPORATION
- Mar 24 2022 |
- Category: CAFC Updates
Dyfan appeals from the District Court’s final judgment of invalidity of asserted patent claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 9,973,899 and 10,194,292 (relating to systems for delivering messages to users based on their locations) as indefinite based on its view that certain claim limitations are in means-plus-function format and that the specification does not disclose sufficient structure corresponding to the recited functions. The CAFC notes that the means-plus-function analysis asks two questions: Is the disputed claim limitation drafted in means plus-function format and, if and only if the answer to the first question is “yes”, what, if any, is the structure corresponding to the claimed function? Based on the testimony of Target’s expert, the CAFC finds that contrary to the district court’s unsupported assertion, the claim limitations do not recite purely functional language, but rather the “code” and “application” limitations connote a class of structures to a person of ordinary skill. While the CAFC agrees that, in a vacuum, the term “system” may well be a nonce term, it finds in this case, the claim language itself defines the “system” to include specified structure including “a building” having “a first broadcast short-range communications unit,” “a second broadcast short-range communications unit,” “code” executed by at least one “mobile device,” and “at least one server ” – each of which is a structural components of the “system”. The CAFC recognizes that the asserted claims are not models of clarity, but poor claim drafting does not allow courts to bypass the presumption that a claim does not invoke § 112 ¶ 6 in the absence of the word “means” or relieve courts of their duty to evaluate whether that presumption has been overcome. Accordingly, the CAFC reverses the district court’s judgment of invalidity and remands.