June 24, 2010 - 12:15am
Are Patentees In the EDVA Stuck With Their Claim Constructions From Prior Cases? Posted by: Administrator


Not necessarily, although the Court has considered prior claim construction decisions in arriving at its own conclusion.  In a recent claim construction ruling by Judge Payne in ePlus, Inc. v. Lawson Software, Case No. 3:09cv620 (E.D. Va. 2010), the Court dealt with the issue of construing claims of patents that had been construed in two previous cases in the District.  Judge Brinkema construed certain terms in the context of summary judgment motions in ePlus, Inc. v. Ariba, Inc., Civil No. 1:04cv612 (E.D. Va. 2005).  In addition, Judge Spencer construed some of the claim terms at issue in ePlus, Inc. v. SAP America, Inc., Civil No. 3:05cv281 (E.D. Va. 2006), but that claim construction opinion was later vacated. 


For some of the claim terms construed, the Court noted that the newly adopted construction was consistent with the construction in the prior lawsuits.  The Court also noted that ten of the eleven means-plus-function terms at issue were construed in the 2005 decision, and because they were “based on sound logic and are linked to the specification,” the Court adopted them.  However, the Court also stated in a footnote that while the claim constructions from the 2006 decision were helpful, it was preferable not to rely on them because that claim construction decision was vacated after the case was settled.