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Profectus’ patent claims at issue were directed to “mountable” digital picture frames for displaying digital images.  Defendants’ sold tablet computer devices.  The district court construed the claim term “mountable” to mean “having a feature for mounting,” and, based on that construction, granted the Defendants’ summary judgment motion of non-infringement. 

On appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s construction for “mountable,” rejecting Profectus’ proposed construction of “capable of being mounted.”  The court reasoned that the term “mountable” is a modifying word in the claims: “mountable picture display” and the claims lack words that embrace a broader meaning, such as “capable of,” “adapted to,” or “configured to.”  Further, the fact that being mountable requires a feature for mounting is supported by the specification, in which all embodiments include such a feature. 

As to the grant of summary judgment, Profectus argued that issues of fact precluded summary judgment, because it showed that, when a tablet is docked, it can be considered to be mounted and therefore the communication port is a mounting feature.  The Federal Circuit disagreed, however, because the communications port is not an inherent feature for mounting, i.e., it can be used apart from a docking station for communication and charging.  The construction of mountable requires a standalone inherent feature in the device. 

In her dissent, Judge Moore agreed with the court as to the construction of “mountable,” but argued that issues of fact do exist that preclude summary judgment of non-infringement, because the construction does not require a feature that is exclusively for mounting.

Profectus Technology LLC v. Dell, Inc., Case Nos. 2015-1016, -1018, -1019 (May 26, 2016); Opinion by: Reyna, joined by Wallach, dissenting opinion by Moore; Appealed From: United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Schneider, J. Read the full opinion here.

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