Patent Law Keyed to Adelman
Orthokinetics, Inc. v. Safety Travel Chairs, Inc.
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Plaintiff received a patent for a collapsible pediatric wheelchair that enabled the placing of wheelchair-bound persons in and out of automobiles. Plaintiff introduced the product in 1973, and in 1978, Safety Travel Chairs (Defendant) started selling similar chairs. Plaintiff sued for infringement. Defendant argued that the patent was not valid since the language in the claim did not particularly point and distinctly claim the invention. Specifically, the claim stated, "wherein said front leg portion is so dimensioned as to be insertable through the space between the doorframe of an automobile and one of the seats thereof." The jury found for Plaintiff, but the district court granted Defendants motion for JNOV, holding claims invalid. The district court stated that a person wanting to build a noninfringing travel chair would not be able to tell if his chair would violate the patent until he made a model and tested it on vehicles ranging from a Honda Civic to a Lincoln Continental. Plaintiff appealed
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