Issue 167 | March 5, 2004
Golight, Inc., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

In Golight, Inc., v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 02-1608 (Fed. Cir. January 20, 2004), Wal-Mart appealed a district court抯 finding of infringement of claim 11 of Golight抯 �9 patent. The �9 patent is directed to a wireless-remote controlled portable search light that is mounted on the outside of a vehicle. All but one of the independent claims recited rotation of the light through 揳t least 360�.�

Independent claim 11 recited the 揾orizontal drive means for rotating said lamp unit in a horizontal direction� like the other claims, but did not contain the 360� limitation. Wal-Mart抯 infringing device contained most of the limitations of the claimed invention, except that the light itself could not rotate through more than 351�. The district court found literal infringement, and awarded attorney抯 fees based on its finding of willfulness.

Challenging the district court抯 claim construction on appeal, Wal-Mart argued that claim 11 should be construed to require rotation through a full 360�, alleging that both the written description and the prosecution history supported its construction.

The federal circuit disagreed, stating that in order for the written description to limit the rotation to 360�, there would have to have been a clear disavowal of claim scope covering rotation less than a full 360�. Analysis of the specification revealed that rotation through a full 360� was but one feature of the claimed invention, and 搕he patentees were not required to include within each of their claims all of these advantages or features described as significant or important in the written description.� Nor did statements in the prosecution history 搑ise to the level of a clear disavowal of [claim] scope,� limiting claim 11 to rotation only through 360�.

To discuss this topic further, please feel free to contact the author Michael R. Dzwonczyk, (mdzwonczyk@sughrue.com), at Sughrue Mion, PLLC in Washington DC., USA.

The information contained in this email is provided for informational purposes only and does not represent legal advice. Neither the APLF nor the author intends to create an attorney client relationship by providing this information to you through this message.

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