Akzo Fails to “Collect” Reversal of Dow’s Summary Judgement of Noninfringement

Author: Abhay A. Watwe, Ph.D.
Editor: Aaron Gleaton Clay

In Akzo Nobel Coatings, Inc. v. Dow Chemical Co., Nos. 2015-1331, -1389 (Fed. Cir. January 29, 2016), the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment of noninfringement of the asserted claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,767,956, directed to an extrusion process generating low viscosity aqueous polymer dispersions. The Federal Circuit also affirmed the district court’s determination that the asserted claims were not invalid for indefiniteness.

Relying on the import of the word “collection” in the disputed claim term “pressurized collection vessel,” the court affirmed the district court’s construction as requiring a “buildup or accumulation of material.” The court explained that construing collection to mean “receive,” as Akzo proposed, would render the claim term “collection” superfluous. Upholding this construction, the court affirmed the district court’s determination that Akzo failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact as to Dow’s alleged infringement because the material in Dow’s process did not accumulate, but rather flowed continuously to an un-pressurized collection vessel.

Next, the court addressed the district court’s determination that the claims of the ’956 patent were not invalid for indefiniteness. Based on the district court’s crediting of expert testimony and on the intrinsic record, the court affirmed the district court’s findings that certain claim limitations directed to the temperature of viscosity measurement and at what phase of the process viscosity measurement is taken did not render the asserted claims indefinite.

 

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