Patent litigants on both sides of the docket struggle with claim limitations that do not expressly recite “means for” language yet define the scope of the invention in terms of functionality rather than structure. In the wake of Williamson v. Citrix Online, LLC, tribunals have increasingly found that claim limitations reciting so-called nonce words overcome the legal presumption against § 112, ¶ 6 (or means-plus-function) treatment. This Article briefly discusses the Williamson decision, its legal and practical effect, and strategic considerations for petitioners and patent owners at the PTAB.
Fish attorneys David Hoffman and Kenneth Darby recently secured a win for client The Heil Co. (d/b/a Heil Environmental) at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) when the Board found that a patent covering a system for tracking garbage cans that Heil challenged was invalid.
Fish Principal Michael Hawkins has been quoted in a recent Law360 article discussing the implications of two PTAB decisions declining to institute IPR of patents because the petitioner was likely to succeed in invalidating only two of 20 or more challenged claims.