Trouble with images? View as a Web page.

Polsinelli - Intellectual Property & Technology Litigation


February 2014


Divided Court Affirms De Novo Review For Claim Construction







Intellectual Property & Technology Litigation Practice Leaders:


Keith J. Grady

Practice Area Chair



John A. Leja

Practice Area Vice Chair




To view a full list of our Intellectual Property & Technology Litigation professionals, click here.


To learn more about our Intellectual Property & Technology Litigation practice, click here.


View Polsinelli documents on JD Supra  
LinkedIn Twitter Facebook Inside Law Podcast Connect with us on LinkedIn. Connection with us on Twitter. Connect with us on Facebook.



On February 21, 2014, the Federal Circuit released its widely-anticipated decision in Lighting Ballast Control LLC v. Phillips Electronics North America Corporation. The decision renews the Court's commitment to fifteen years of precedent that holds claim construction is a matter of law that is reviewed de novo on appeal. For companies that may be involved in patent litigation, this decision may provide a sense of continuity and stability in an area of law that is otherwise continually evolving.

In a 6-4 decision, the Court rejected calls for a modified standard of review that would afford some formal deference to a District Court's construction. Judge Newman, writing for the majority, expressed concern that a modified review dependent on distinguishing legal from factual aspects of the District Court's decision would introduce a new and uncertain inquiry that would not promote clarity and consistency. The dissent criticized adherence to de novo review as ignoring the factual component of a District Court's claim construction process. The en banc rehearing attracted considerable interest from technology companies and research institutions.

As a result of this recent decision, the cost of litigation may be decreased in cases where a final appellate decision has previously construed the claims. On the other hand, as the dissent recognized, de novo review encourages appeals, which can increase the expense of patent litigation and chill opportunities for settlement. Given the narrow margin of the decision by the en banc court and the significant pressure—from not only academics and the bar, but also some vocal District Court judges—this issue may be ripe for Supreme Court review.

For More Information

For more information about the contents of this eAlert please contact:













Atlanta  Chattanooga  Chicago  Dallas  Denver  Edwardsville  Jefferson City  Kansas City  Los Angeles  New York
Overland Park   Phoenix  St. Joseph  St. Louis  Springfield  Topeka  Washington, D.C.  Wilmington








real challenges. real answers.SM  
Serving corporations, institutions, entrepreneurs, and individuals, our attorneys build enduring relationships by providing legal counsel informed by business insight to help clients achieve their objectives. This commitment to understanding our clients' businesses has helped us become the fastest growing law firm in the U.S. for the past five years, according to the leading legal business and law firm publication,
The American Lawyer. With more than 700 attorneys in 18 cities, we work with clients nationally to address the challenges of their roles in health care, financial services, real estate, life sciences and technology, energy and business litigation. The firm can be found online at Polsinelli PC. In California, Polsinelli LLP.







To update your email preferences, please contact Kim Auther at To opt out of these communications, click the unsubscribe link below.

Polsinelli provides this material for informational purposes only. The material provided herein is general and is not intended to be legal advice. Polsinelli is very proud of the results we obtain for our clients, but you should know that past results do not guarantee future results; that every case is different and must be judged on its own merits; and that the choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.

Copyright © 2014 Polsinelli PC.

Connect with us on LinkedIn. Connection with us on Twitter. Connect with us on Facebook.