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Archived updates for Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Evidentiary Requirements for Establishing Point of Novelty

In Bernhardt LLC v. Collezione Europa USA, the Federal Circuit clarified that "To establish the points of novelty in a design patent infringement action, we hold that the patentee must introduce into evidence, at a minimum, the design patent at issue, its prosecution history, and the relevant prior art references cited in the prosecution history; and must present, in some form, its contentions as to points of novelty.

"The contentions may be made in any appropriate way, such as in proposed findings of fact. The fact finder generally will be able to determine the points of novelty that distinguish the design patent from the prior art by comparing the design patent with the cited prior art references, aided by any written statements of the applicant and examiner in the prosecution history.

"A patentee may seek to present additional evidence, such as expert testimony, to assist the fact finder in understanding its contentions pertaining to the points of novelty, and in some cases presenting thatevidence may be advisable. We hold only that when the points of novelty can be discerned from the patent, its prosecution history, the cited prior art, and the patentee?s contentions, any additional evidence, such as expert testimony, is not necessary to establish the points of novelty."
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