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The Federal Circuit affirmed summary judgment of non-infringement, and, in so doing, affirmed the construction of the claim term “personal identification number” as “a number separate from a billing code, identifying an individual system user, which is associated with the individual and not the device.”  The patentee argued that this construction deviated from the ordinary meaning and erroneously imported limitations from the specification and the prosecution history.  The court explained, however, that the terms used in patent claims are not construed in the abstract, but in the context in which the term was presented and used by the patentee, as it would have been understood by a person of ordinary skill in the art when reading the patent.  The district court’s construction was supported by the intrinsic record, did not render the claims inoperable, and the doctrine of claim differentiation could not be used to enlarge the scope of the claims beyond that which is supported by the patent documents or the prosecution history.

Fenner Investments, Ltd. v. Cellco Partnership., Case No. 2013-1640 (February 12, 2015); Opinion by: Newman, joined by Schall and Hughes; Appealed From: District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Davis, J. Read the full opinion here.

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