Federal Circuit Holds that a Claim Containing Both a Broad Limitation and a Narrower Limitation Within the Broad Limitation Is Not Indefinite, So Long as It Is Possible to Satisfy Both the Broad and Narrow Requirements

In Maxell, Ltd. v. Amperex Ltd., the Federal Circuit held that a claim initially reciting (i) “at least one” of a Markush group of several transition metals including cobalt, and later reciting (ii) a nonzero amount of cobalt, was not indefinite. Specifically, the Federal Circuit found that, while contradictory claim limitations may be indefinite, the two claim limitations at issue were not contradictory because it is possible to meet both requirements if cobalt is used. The Federal Circuit explained that “[c]laim limitations do not grant options. They state requirements – conditions that must be met for a product or process to come within the claim’s protected zone…If there are two requirements, and it is possible to meet both, there is no contradiction.”