Plain Meaning

GE Lighting Solutions, LLC v. Agilight, Inc., 2013-1267 (May 1, 2014), the Federal Circuti revesrsed the district court’s claim construction of the term “IDC connector” which imported limitations from the preferred embodiment.  The Federal Circuit said that the specification and prosecution history only compel departure from the plain meaning in two instances: lexicography and disavowal.  The Federal Circuit added: The standards for finding lexicography and disavowal are exacting. To act as its own lexicographer, a patentee must clearly set forth a definition of the disputed claim term, and clearly express an intent to define the term.  Similarly, disavowal requires that “the specification or prosecution history make clear that the invention does not include a particular feature.  The Federal Circuit found no lexicography or disavowal, and reitereated that a patent that only discloses one embodiemtn is not necessarily limited to that one embodiment.  In construing “substantially ellipsoidal inner profile” the Federal Circuit applied another classic canon of claim construction: one normally do not construe claims in a manner that would exclude the preferred embodiment, especially where it is the only disclosed embodiment.