Erik Swain

November 1, 2003

1 Min Read
Federal Circuit Revisits Festo

Originally Published MX November/December 2003


Erik Swain



With market share and millions of dollars potentially hanging in the balance, medtech executives are keeping a wary eye on strategies for defending their companies' IP portfolios. According to experts in the field, some companies may have received a helping hand from a decision issued recently by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

The September ruling modifies slightly the Federal Circuit's infamous Festo decision, which restricts the use of an intellectual property protection in patent disputes.

Until 2000, patent holders could defend their IP through the use of the doctrine of equivalents, which offered protection beyond the literal language in the patent. But in deciding the case of Festo Corp. v. Shoketsu Kinzoku Kogyo Kabushiki Co. Ltd., the Federal Circuit decreed that the doctrine of equivalents is severely limited if a firm amends a claim during the prosecution of its patent application.

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