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Case Analyses for Intellectual Property Law and New Media

Series:

Steven L. Baron, Edward Lee Lamoureux and Claire Stewart

This text is a companion to the 2 nd edition of Intellectual Property Law And New Media: Free for a Fee. Moving the coverage of case analysis to this separate volume, enables the authors to focus their attention on important trial and legal procedures that apply extant law to, largely, new circumstances.
Readers can focus on history and concepts while reading the main text, allowing them to bring understandings derived there to bear on the cases found in this analytic text. The approach offers relief from information overload and allows time and space to «shift gears» between concepts and cases. To aid understanding and learning, the authors provide focused interpretations and analysis throughout.
The coverage allows these books to serve as an excellent resource for undergraduates studying interactive media, as well as being a primer for first year IP law students, a handbook for entrepreneurs, a guidebook for general lawyers to assist in referrals, and an interesting read for those simply curious about the field.
The books are supplemented by freeforafee.com, a blog providing textual updates, online links to bibliographic materials, and extensive resource aggregation. Learning objectives for each chapter and a glossary of key terms are provided within the texts.
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Chapter Three: Patent Cases

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CHAPTER THREE

Patent Cases



Traditional Media Patent Cases with New Media Implications

Markman v. Westview Instruments Inc., 517 U.S. 370 (1996).

Markman was the most important patent case of its decade. In a unanimous opinion, the SCOTUS affirmed the Federal Circuit and held that determining the meanings of patent claims is a task for the courts to decide as a question of law, not questions for juries to decide as questions of fact.

Before this case, determining the meanings of patent claims (often called “construing the claims”) was a task for a jury; a process that often led to unpredictable outcomes even after years of litigating the patent.

Now, common practice is for District Courts to hold Markman hearings, where the words of the claims that are disputed by the parties are construed by the Court. Determining whether an accused product infringes a claim of a patent is thus a two-step process. First, the Court construes the claims; second, a jury determines whether the claims fit the accused device or process.

In Markman, the patent at issue was directed at managing inventory at a dry cleaner. Claim 1 of Markman’s patent stated that the claimed product could “maintain an inventory total” and “detect and localize spurious additions to inventory.” ← 25 | 26 → Thus, the term “inventory” was a disputed term. The jury found infringement of Claim 1, but the District Court subsequently...

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