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ATEN International Co. v. Uniclass Technology Co.

Failure to Timely Object to Claim Construction Testimony to Jury Waives Challenge to Noninfringement Verdict

ATEN International Co. v. Uniclass Technology Co., __ F.3d __, 2019 WL 3558562 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 6, 2017) (MOORE, Wallach, Taranto) (C.D. Cal.: Guilford) (1 of 5 stars)

Fed Cir part-affirms, part-reverses judgment of invalidity and noninfringement. The district court erred in not granting JMOL confirming the patent’ validity over Uniclass’s attack. The opinion describes how Uniclass failed to establish that one piece of prior art (a firmware) existed prior to the critical date. “With a critical date of July 24, 2006, testimony that the firmware . . . existed in 2006 alone is not enough to support the jury’s finding that the firmware pre-dated the critical date[.]” Op. at 7. As to another piece of prior art, Uniclass failed to present evidence that the prior art practiced a certain limitation, so the invalidity verdict could not be based on that reference.

The record supported the judgment of no infringement. Though Uniclass’ expert presented claim construction testimony to the jury, “ATEN did not object to any of this testimony during the trial, nor did ATEN move for the district court to resolve these claim construction disputes.” Op. at 9. ATEN had thus waived any challenge to the jury’s infringement finding based on that testimony. The opinion does not that it is “improper for an expert witness to testify before the jury regarding claim construction,” but does not fault the district court. “It is the parties’ obligation to raise a dispute regarding the proper scope of claims to the court.” Id. at 10.

KEYWORDS: INVALIDITY (NO); CRITICAL DATE; INFRINGEMENT (NO)