SOURCE: Wolf Greenfield

July 12, 2005 17:23 ET

Phillips Patent Decision Today Reaffirms That Patents Must Be Thorough, Clear

BOSTON, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 12, 2005 -- The nation's top patent court, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, today handed down its much-anticipated decision in Phillips v. AWH Corp.

"The thrust of the decision rejected a recent trend to interpret language in patents by giving greater emphasis to dictionary definitions of terms," said James Foster, a senior litigator with Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C., an intellectual property law firm in Boston. "The court criticized these decisions because primarily relying on a dictionary to define terms, as opposed to reading those terms in the context of the patent itself, could cause those terms to be defined in the abstract rather than in the context of what the inventor had described as his invention."

Michael N. Rader, a patent attorney and litigator with Wolf Greenfield added: "The subtle and difficult process of claim interpretation can be simplified considerably if the patent specification is organized and thorough, key terms are well defined, and the claims appropriately capture the scope of the invention with wording consistent with that of the specification. Crafting patents that are clearer, stronger and more easily enforced translates into value. The Phillips decision reinforces the importance of teamwork between inventors and patent attorneys."

Patent "claims" define the metes and bounds of the patentee's property right, much like a deed to a piece of land.

Wolf Greenfield ( is one of the most experienced law firms devoted to the practice of intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and related litigation.

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