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Patent Law Keyed to Adelman
Festo Corp. v. Shoketsu Kinzoku Kogyo Kabushiki Co., Ltd.
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- The Brief Prologue provides necessary case brief introductory information and includes:
- Topic: Identifies the topic of law and where this case fits within your course outline.
- Parties: Identifies the cast of characters involved in the case.
- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
- Case Key Terms, Acts, Doctrines, etc.: A case specific Legal Term Dictionary.
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- The Case Brief is the complete case summarized and authored in the traditional Law School I.R.A.C. format. The Pro case brief includes:
- Brief Facts: A Synopsis of the Facts of the case.
- Rule of Law: Identifies the Legal Principle the Court used in deciding the case.
- Facts: What are the factual circumstances that gave rise to the civil or criminal case? What is the relationship of the Parties that are involved in the case. Review the Facts of this case here:
Plaintiff owns two patents for a magnetic rodless cylinder, a piston-driven device that uses magnets to move objects in a conveying system. In response to rejection, the prosecution history reveals that both patent applications were amended to reference prior art and new limitations. There were two new limitations: (1) the inventions are to contain a pair of sealing rings, each having a lip on one side, and (2) the outer shell of the device, the sleeve, is to be made of a magnetizable material. Defendant then brought a similar device to the market that had a single sealing ring with a two-way lip and a sleeve made of magnetizable alloy. Plaintiff sued for infringement claiming that although there was no literal infringement, Defendant's device infringed under the doctrine of equivalents because the devices were very similar. Defendant argued that Plaintiff was stopped from presenting this argument because of the prosecution history regarding the patents. The district court held that Plaintiff's amendments were not made to avoid prior art and did not result in estoppel. The court of appeals reversed and held that by narrowing a claim to secure a patent, the patentee surrenders all equivalents to the amended claim element. Prior decisions held that prosecution history estoppels made a flexible bar, foreclosing some, but not all, claims of equivalence, depending on the reason for the amendment and the changes in the text. Plaintiff appealed.
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- Policy: Identifies the Policy if any that has been established by the case.
- Court Direction: Shares where the Court went from here for this case.