M. Reed Staheli


Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc. (Markman II) concluded that patent claim construction is "exclusively within the province of the court," not the jury. However, it did not mention the appropriate standard for appellate review of claim construction, and the Federal Circuit has disagreed on the proper standard of review. As such, Mr. Staheli examines the evidentiary principles of claim construction adopted by the Federal Circuit and explores the inherent reliance a court places upon technical evidence when interpreting a complex claim, focusing on the factual disputes and determinations of credibility that result from a dependence on technical evidence. After a brief discussion of why a trial court is in a better position to examine technical evidence, Mr. Staheli addresses the importance of uniformity and the significance of de novo review in maintaining uniformity. Next, an illustration of how de novo review erodes certainty about a claim's meaning is offered followed by Mr. Staheli's strategy to fulfill the desire for uniformity, yet lend a degree of deference to a trial court's factual findings, thus ensuring adequate claim construction.