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Patent and trademark - Patent terms - Infringement.

Byline: Mass. Lawyers Weekly Staff

Where the parties in a patent infringement suit disputed the proper definition of certain terms, it is up to the court and not the jury to define those terms.

"In this intellectual property dispute, MedIdea, L.L.C., alleges that DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., DePuy Synthes Products, Inc., and DePuy Synthes Sales, Inc. d/b/a DePuy Synthes Joint Reconstruction (collectively, 'DePuy') are directly and willfully infringing its patents via the sale of Attune knee replacement systems. The parties dispute the proper construction of terms appearing in twelve claims disclosed in the four patents-in-suit.

"The Court adopts DePuy's proposed construction. 'Cam' is not a term with which laypeople are likely to be familiar, and it will be critical for the factfinders in this case to understand this word. No matter how extensively trial witnesses might discuss the term 'cam,' it is not the jury's role, but the Court's exclusive obligation, to construe a patent's terms. Markman[ v. Westview Instruments, Inc.], 517 U.S. [370,] 372[ (1996)]. Accordingly, the Court construes 'cam' to mean 'a structure that makes sliding or rolling contact with the tibial post as the knee bends.'

"One or more of the terms 'cam action surface,' 'point of cam action,' and 'cam action point,' appear throughout three of the patents-in-suit. The Court adopts DePuy's proposed construction as to all three related terms. The Court is not only empowered, but required, to construe patent terms when the parties disagree as to their meaning. Markman, 517 U.S. at 372. Moreover, the Court is not persuaded that these terms have plain and ordinary meanings which would be apparent to the laypeople who will act as finders of fact in this dispute. DePuy's proposal is consistent with the intrinsic record, MedIdea agrees it accurately defines at least one of the terms, and no alternative definitions have been offered as to any of the terms. As such, the Court construes 'cam action surface,' 'point of cam action,' and 'cam action point' each to mean 'the surface of a cam that contacts the tibial post.'

"The Court construes 'cam mechanism' and the 'member' term to mean 'a structure including two or more cams.' In adopting this construction, the Court has modified DePuy's proposal to account for the fact that cams, by definition, 'make[] sliding or rolling contact with the tibial post as the knee bends.' It is unnecessary to repeat that phrase in defining 'cam mechanism' and the 'member' term, as it is implicitly incorporated by the word 'cam.' The construction adopted by the Court is supported by the intrinsic evidence. The common specification criticizes single-cam structures and repeatedly references multiple cams and/or multiple points of cam action.

"The Court adopts DePuy's proposed construction, insofar it concludes that 'separate' means 'spaced apart' for purposes of the patents-in-suit. Substituting 'distinct' for 'separate,' as MedIdea urges, would do little to aid the finder of fact in applying this term. The Court construes the entire disputed term 'separate cam action surface (or area)' to mean 'a cam action surface (or area) that is spaced apart from another cam action surface (or area).' In adopting this construction, the Court has modified DePuy's proposal to eliminate bracketed language which appears elsewhere in the relevant claim and need not be included in the definition of this term.

"[T]he Court construes the 'cam extension' terms to mean 'the bridging material that extends from a first cam to a second, separate cam, together with the second, separate cam.' In adopting this construction, the Court has endeavored to account for the various references to the terms appearing in the prosecution history.

"Claim 1 in the '280 patent describes a TKR system in which the 'cam mechanism of the femoral component has a superior convex portion, a concave central portion, and an inferior convex posterior portion.' The Court construes this term to mean 'a first convex cam surface and a second, posterior convex cam surface that are separated by a concave portion of the cam mechanism that does not contact the tibial post.' This construction is consistent with both parties' proposals insofar as they both require that the two convex portions the term references are surfaces which contact the tibial post.

"Claim 1 of the '730 patent, like various other claims throughout the patents-in-suit, includes the terms 'proximal' (or 'proximally') and 'distal' (or 'distally'). The Court adopts DePuy's proposals for these terms. MedIdea's first suggestions are gratuitously wordy, overcomplicating terms that, in the Court's view, will not be difficult for lay jurors to comprehend.

"Claims in the '132 and '730 patents describe a cam action point which contacts the tibial post 'early after the initiation of flexion.' The Court adopts DePuy's proposal. MedIdea offers no intrinsic or extrinsic support, and no non-arbitrary basis, for its invitation to assign a 60-degree limit to this term."

MedIdea, L.L.C., v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 02-552-18) (19 pages) (Sorokin, J.) (Civil Action No. 17-11172-LTS) (Nov. 7, 2018).

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Title Annotation:MedIdea, L.L.C., v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Publication:Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
Date:Nov 19, 2018
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