The Federal Circuit and Claim Construction: Resolving the Conflict between the Claims and the Written Description

June 16, 2012

Conflicting standards of claim construction confuse patent practitioners and the patent holders they represent about the scope of the patent’s protection. In particular, claim construction canons establishing the relationship between the claims and the written description in determining the scope of protection are unclear. In a recent case, Teleflex, Inc. v. Ficosa North America Corp., the Federal Circuit articulated a comprehensive standard that resolves this conflict and provides the appropriate amount of protection to a patentee while providing adequate incentive for innovation.
This Recent Development first explores how the standard developed by the court in Teleflex provides a logical framework for claim construction. Second, it describes why the Teleflex approach provides certainty to claim construction and why it will lead to even greater certainty in claim construction over time. Finally, this Recent Development addresses potential criticisms of the Teleflex standard.