Doctrine of equivalents

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Doctrine of equivalents

  1. 1. DOCTRINE OF EQUIVALENTS (DOE) KAVITA RAO - PARMAR February 06, 2009
  2. 2. INFRINGEMENT GENERALLY <ul><li>Patent Infringement is defined as “ Without authority the act of making, using, offering to sell, or selling any patented invention, during the term of the patent” </li></ul>
  3. 3. TYPES OF INFRINGEMENT INFRINGEMENT DIRECT INFRINGEMENT INDIRECT INFRINGEMENT INDUCED INFRINGEMENT CONTRIBUTORY INFRINGEMENT
  4. 4. TYPES OF INFRINGEMENT <ul><li>Infringement can be Direct or Indirect . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Direct :- Anyone who makes, uses or sells the patented invention is a direct infringer. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indirect:- Induced and Contributory infringement . </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. INDIRECT INFRINGEMENT <ul><li>Inducement - an act of actively inducing another to infringe a patent. </li></ul><ul><li>Contributory - arises when there is a sale, offer for sale or importation of a component of a patented article / material / apparatus which constitutes a material part of the invention </li></ul>
  6. 6. ANALYSIS <ul><li>Involves a two-step process:- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First, the claims are analyzed by studying all of the relevant patent documents. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Second, the claims must &quot;read on&quot; the accused device or process. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This merely means that the device or process is examined to see if it is substantially described by the claims. </li></ul>
  7. 7. CATEGORIES <ul><li>Patent infringement falls into two categories: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Literal infringement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Each and every element recited in a claim has </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>identical correspondence in the allegedly infringing device, process, product etc. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Infringement under the Doctrine of Equivalents (DOE) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Even if there is no literal infringement, a claim may be infringed under the doctrine of equivalents. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. WHAT IS DOE? <ul><li>The “Doctrine of Equivalents&quot; is a judicially created (not embodied in code, but solely developed by courts) doctrine having a three part &quot;function/way/result&quot; substantial identity test (Triple identity or tripartite test) embodying the following steps: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Determine whether the accused device or process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>performs substantially the same function as the claimed invention. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>operates in substantially the same way as the claimed invention. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>achieves substantially the same result as the claimed invention. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. TRIPLE IDENTITY OR TRIPARTITE TEST <ul><li>In applying this test, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>each element of the claim must also be compared with the accused device or process to determine </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>whether the accused device or process contains each element or its substantial equivalent . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A substantial equivalent of an element is one </li></ul><ul><ul><li>that causes the accused device or process to operate in substantially the same way as the claimed invention . </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. IN NUTSHELL <ul><li>A patentee invokes this doctrine to proceed against the producer of a device “ if it performs substantially the same function in substantially the same way to obtain the same result .” </li></ul>
  11. 11. ANALYSIS <ul><li>In order to find infringement under the doctrine of equivalents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>an element-by-element comparison and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>not a &quot;claim as a whole analysis&quot; , must be made between the claimed invention and the accused device </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. ANALYSIS <ul><li>The Court lays out a test to determine equivalency; something is deemed equivalent if there is only an “insubstantial change” between each of the features of the accused device or process and the patent claim . </li></ul><ul><li>Such changes are made solely to avoid the literal language of the claim, and the changes reflect little or no advantage. </li></ul>
  13. 13. LIMITATIONS TO DOE <ul><li>All elements rule </li></ul><ul><li>Doctrine of public dedication </li></ul><ul><li>Existence of prior art </li></ul><ul><li>Prosecution history estoppel </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>The all elements rule requires that </li></ul><ul><ul><li>all of the elements of a patent claim must be present in an accused product or device, though it need be present only equivalently, to support a finding of patent infringement </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Doctrine of public dedication where </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a patent application discloses unclaimed subject matter , that subject matter must be deemed to have been dedicated to the public </li></ul></ul>LIMITATIONS TO DOE
  15. 15. <ul><li>Existence of prior art </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The mere existence of an element in the prior art automatically precludes the patentee from asserting a scope of equivalency sufficient to encompass the corresponding element in the accused device. </li></ul></ul>LIMITATIONS TO DOE
  16. 16. PROSECUTION HISTORY ESTOPPEL <ul><li>Amendment-based estoppel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Narrowing amendment made for patentability reasons creates a presumption that all territory between the original claim limitation and the amended claim limitation is surrendered. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Argument-based estoppel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Applicant clearly and unmistakably surrenders subject matter made to the examiner during arguments . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unlike amendment-based estoppel, there is no presumption of surrendering an entire field of equivalents. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. GRAVER TANK V. LINDE AIR <ul><li>Involved claims to welding Flux. </li></ul><ul><li>Claims recited an “alkaline earth metal silicates” using magnesium. </li></ul><ul><li>The accused product used manganese , a silicate, but not an alkaline earth metal silicate. </li></ul><ul><li>Expert testimony indicated that manganese served the purpose of magnesium in the flux, and was equivalent to it. </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>In this case, the Court gave particular weight to the determination of “ whether person reasonably skilled-in-the-art would have known of the interchangeability of an ingredient not contained in the patent with one that was ”. </li></ul><ul><li>Finding that the substitution of magnesium for manganese was both obvious to anyone working in the field, and was an insubstantial change , the Court upheld the finding of patent infringement under DOE. </li></ul>GRAVER TANK V. LINDE AIR
  19. 19. <ul><li>Involved &quot; magnetic rodless cylinder ”, a piston-driven device that relies on magnets to move objects in a conveying system. </li></ul><ul><li>During prosecution, claims were amended to recite a pair of sealing rings , each having a lip on one side. </li></ul>FESTO CORP. V. SHOKESTU
  20. 20. <ul><li>The accused product employed a single sealing ring with a two-way lip. </li></ul><ul><li>The Court found that the doctrine did not apply due to prosecution history estoppel . </li></ul><ul><li>Any narrowing of claims to obtain a patent gives rise to prosecution history estoppel which in turn bars every equivalent to the amended claim element.  </li></ul>FESTO CORP. V. SHOKESTU
  21. 21. PHARMACEUTICAL PATENTS AND DOE
  22. 22. ZENITH LAB V. BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB <ul><li>BMS obtained Patent, on the chemical compound cefadroxil , which expired in 1987. </li></ul><ul><li>BMS also obtained a U.S. Patent, on a new crystalline form of cefadroxil known as Bouzard monohydrate (BM) </li></ul><ul><li>Zenith sought a permission to market cefadroxil DC which which is a hemihydrate form of cefadroxil and differs structurally from BM. </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>In the suit, Bristol-Myers conceded cefadroxil DC did not literally infringe its patent but argued that Zenith's product infringed under DOE and Zenith's sale of cefadroxil DC would induce infringement because cefadroxil DC is converted to BM in the patient's stomach . </li></ul><ul><li>The DOE argument was rejected by the District Court on the basis that the cefadroxil DC did not perform the same function as BM . </li></ul><ul><li>The District Court, however, found that literal infringement of the BM patent occurs in a patient's stomach as a result of the ingestion of the cefadroxil DC . </li></ul>ZENITH LAB V. BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB
  24. 24. <ul><li>On appeal, the Court affirmed the finding of no infringement under DOE </li></ul><ul><li>But reversed the decision on inducement to infringe holding that the scientific evidence was not sufficient to establish that cefadroxil DC converted to BM in the patient's stomach. </li></ul>ZENITH LAB V. BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB
  25. 25. ASTRAZENECA V. MAYNE <ul><li>Mayne (Infringer) attempted to work around AstraZeneca’s anesthetic formulation patent . </li></ul><ul><li>In attempting to formulate a generic composition having a different preservative, Mayne replaced EDTA by DTPA (a structural derivative of EDTA). </li></ul><ul><li>The district court, however, found that Mayne’s product infringed both directly and under the doctrine of equivalents. </li></ul>
  26. 26. ASTRAZENECA V. MAYNE <ul><li>On appeal, the Court reversed the direct infringement based on claim construction, but agreed that there was infringement under DOE . </li></ul><ul><li>DTPA was well within the scope of equivalents because DTPA performs in broadly the same way as EDTA, noting that the way in which both EDTA and DTPA perform as an antimicrobial agent is by sequestering metal ions to retard microbial growth . </li></ul>
  27. 27. DOE IN OTHER COUNTRIES <ul><li>EUROPE - Two means are deemed to be equivalent if, despite having different structures, they fulfill the same function with regard to the same result . </li></ul><ul><li>Further, in order to be considered as equivalents, the means have to achieve the same kind and quality of result . </li></ul><ul><li>If the means perform the same function but they differ in the quality of the result achieved , then there is no infringement under DOE . </li></ul><ul><li>FRANCE - The DOE can be invoked if the accused device contains means having the same function in order to obtain the same result as the claimed invention. </li></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>JAPAN - Equivalents are determined by considering :- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>whether the difference relates to an important claim element </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>obviousness of the substitution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>whether the accused item is an anticipated or obvious modification of state of the art </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>whether estoppel exists. </li></ul></ul>DOE IN OTHER COUNTRIES
  29. 29. THANK YOU

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