Federal Circuit Holds that Standard-Essentiality is a Question of Fact for a Jury Rather than a Question to be Decided by a Judge as a Part of Claim Construction

The Federal Circuit held that the question of whether a product complies with a particular industry standard (and thus would infringe a particular patent claim) is a questions of fact that should be determined by a jury or fact finder. In distinguishing Fujitsu Ltd. V. Netgear Inc., 620 F.3d 1321 (Fed. Cir. 2010), which was decided on summary judgment, the court reasoned “[l]ike any other fact issue, it may be amendable to resolution on summary judgment in appropriate cases. But that does not mean it becomes a questions of law.” The Court further reasoned “[e]ssentiality is, after all, a fact question about whether the claim elements read onto mandatory portions of a standard that standard-compliant devices must incorporate. This inquiry is more akin to an infringement analysis (comparing claim elements to an accused product) than to a claim construction analysis (focusing, to a large degree, on intrinsic evidence and saying what the claims mean).”