Federal Circuit Refuses to Allow for Structural Limitations in a Claim to be Met by Imaginary Lines of Demarcation Arbitrarily Drawn on Accused Product

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in Neville. v. Foundation Constructors, Inc., Case No. 20-1132 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 27, 2020), upheld the district court’s finding that two physically and meaningfully different structures recited in a claim could not be met by drawing imaginary lines of demarcation on a single accused structure, when those lines of demarcation have no meaningful significance pertaining to the accused structure.  While the patent and its prosecution history must always be consulted to determine the proper scope of claim terms, this case illustrates that courts will be wary of creating arbitrary distinctions within a single structure of a product in an attempt to force that product within the scope of a claim.

The full opinion is accessible via http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/20-1132.OPINION.8-27-2020_1643970.pdf