Amax, Inc. v. ACCO Brands Corporation (16-cv-10695).

  • October 18, 2017

Judge Gorton issued a claim construction order in a case involving allegations that ACCO 2019s Swingline Quick Touch Full Strip and Quick Touch Compact staplers.
In virtually each instance, Judge Gorton refused to read limitations into the claims and sided with Amax. Of particular interest, Judge Gorton declined to consider whether the claims were indefinite at the claim construction phase of the litigation; as a part of this, it appears that Judge Gorton laid out an outdated legal standard for proving indefiniteness. Under the Supreme Court 2019s 2014 Nautilis decision, indefiniteness exists if a patent 2019s claims, 201cread in light of the specification delineating the patent, and the prosecution history, fail to inform, with reasonable certainty, those skilled in the art about the scope of the invention. 201d Judge Gorton 2019s analysis, however, asserted that ACCO must show that a 201cskilled artisan could not discern the bounds of the claim, 201d and that to be found indefinite, 201cthe claim must be 2018insolubly ambiguous, 2019 201d citing to the Federal Circuit 2019s pre-Nautilis 2008 Halliburton Energy decision. It should be interesting to see how this issue progresses.

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