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Archived updates for Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Federal Circuit Standard of Review for ITC Decisions

In Erbe Elektromedizin GMBH v. International Trade Commission (Fed. Cir. 2009; May 19, 2009), the court restated its standard of review for decisions of the U.S. International Trade Commission:
We review the rulings of the ITC under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 706. 19 U.S.C. § 1337(c); Osram GmbH v. Int'l Trade Comm'n, 505 F.3d 1351, 1355 (Fed. Cir. 2007). "Rulings of law by the ITC are reviewed for correctness, and findings of fact are reviewed to ascertain whether they were supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole." Osram, 505 F.3d at 1355. . . . 

We review claim construction de novo. Cybor Corp. v. FAS Techs., Inc., 138 F.3d 1448, 1456 (Fed. Cir. 1998) (en banc). The claims "must be read in view of the specification, of which they are a part." Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303, 1315 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc) (quoting Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., 52 F.3d 967, 979 (Fed. Cir. 1995) (en banc)). We generally do not construe claim language to be inconsistent with the clear language of the specification; "[u]sually, it is dispositive." Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1315 (quoting Vitronics Corp. v. Conceptronic, Inc., 90 F.3d 1576, 1582 (Fed. Cir. 1996)). . . .

. . . the fundamental disagreement between the parties boils down to whether fixed optics are a "working channel." . . . the parties agree that infringement requires the accused devices to be used with an endoscope having at least two "working channels" and that the accused devices have only a single "working channel" if the fixed optics are not a "working channel." Based on our claim construction, the ITC correctly concluded that ERBE presented no evidence that any accused device had been used with an endoscope that had at least two "working channels" and, therefore, that there was no evidence of direct infringement and thus no basis for finding induced or contributory infringement. In light of this holding, we need not address the other arguments raised on appeal. Accordingly, we affirm.

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