AMBIGUOUS CLAIM LANGUAGE CONSTRUED TO BE CONSISTENT WITH CLAIMS AND SPECIFICATION

CISCO SYSTEMS, INC. v. INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION, Appeal Nos. 2016-2563, -2539 (Fed. Cir. September 27, 2017).  Before Reyna, Schall and Wallach.  Appealed from International Trade Commission.  (Claim Construction)
Background:

Cisco filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that network switches, and related software and components of the switches, which were imported by Arista Networks, Inc. (“Arista”), infringed six of its patents.  The relevant claim language of the patents recites a database system and router configuration data, as follows:

said router configuration data managed by said database system and derived from configuration commands supplied by a user and executed by a router configuration subsystem before being stored in said database.  (Emphasis added).

            The ITC determined that “being stored in the database,” as recited in the claims, requires the storage of “router configuration data” as opposed to “configuration commands supplied by a user.”  Based on this claim construction, the ITC determined that Arista’s switches infringed three of Cisco’s six patents.  Thus, the ITC entered an exclusion order, which excluded entry of Arista’s switches, related software and components into the United States.  Arista appealed the ITC’s finding of infringement and the scope of the exclusion order.  Cisco cross-appealed the ITC’s finding that Arista did not infringe the remaining three of its six patents.

Issue/Holding:

Did the ITC conduct a proper claim construction of the “before being stored in the database” claim limitation?   (continue reading)

Summary byDonna Mason

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