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CAFC Weekly: August 26, 2010

by Orlando Lopez

This week there are two precedential opinions, General Protecht Group, Inc. v. International Trade Commission and Pass & Seymour, Inc. v. International Trade Commission.  Each arises from the same ITC (International Trade Commission) decision on a complaint by Pass & Seymour, Inc, for infringement of a number of patents on ground fault interrupter circuits (GFICs).  The ITC found that some imported products from General Protecht Group, Inc. and two other companies infringed three of the patents and that some of the other imported products did not infringe.

In General Protecht Group, Inc. v.  ITC, General Protecht Group and two other companies appealed  the decision of infringement.  The CAFC reviewed a decision of the ITC by reviewing legal determinations de novo.  The CAFC considered the claim construction, and arriving at different claim construction, reversed the finding of infringement.  Judge Newman dissented, stating, after a detailed discussion of the interpretation of the claims, that the ITC’s claim construction was supported by substantial evidence.  The standard used for reviewing the ITC’s claim construction should be compared to that applied to reviewing claim construction from a District Court, where the review is de novo.  It appears that the ITC received the same amount of deference that is afforded to a District Court.

In Pass & Seymour, Inc. v. ITC, Pass & Seymour, Inc, appealed the decision of non-infringement.  The CAFC again considered claim construction, agreed with the ITC’s claim construction (claim interpretation), and sustained the decision of non-infringement.

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