Thursday, April 3, 2014

Supreme Court to Decide Standard of Review for Patent Claim Interpretation Rule

The Supreme Court on Monday granted a petition for review of the Federal Circuit's en banc decision upholding its practice of applying de novo review of patent claim construction decisions. Rule 52 states that "findings of fact ... must not be set aside unless clearly erroneous.” The petitioner stated the question on appeal as:

Whether a district court’s factual finding in support of its construction of a patent claim term may be reviewed de novo, as the Federal Circuit requires (and as the panel explicitly did in this case), or only for clear error, as Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(a) requires.

I'll go out on a thick limb and predict that the Supreme Court will unanimously reverse the Federal Circuit and require some degree of deference to findings of fact in District Court decisions while still allowing de novo review of the legal conclusion. The only question is how the Court will attempt to draw a line between factual and legal conclusions in claim construction.


  1. From this it seems that the supreme courts ruling would be universal from state to state. How come then, are there so many different patent laws even within the United States? I guess you need to find an attorney who can help in each state. I think that should protect you on a state and national level.

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