Patent Claim Construction

Note — Volume 94, Issue 5

94 Va. L. Rev. 1165
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In 1998, the Federal Circuit decided Cybor Corp. v. FAS Technologies, holding that patent claim construction was a purely legal issue subject to de novo appellate review. This highly controversial decision has since become the focus of intense scrutiny and empirical studies exposing the problematic nature of de novo review. In November 2006, the Federal Circuit issued a divided opinion indicating its most significant movement towards reconsidering Cybor, prompting some observers to forecast the impending demise of de novo review.

This Note introduces Chevron deference as the proper standard of review for patent claim construction. A default rule adopting the narrowest reasonable claim interpretation would serve as a valuable information-forcing adjunct. Together, these rules would simultaneously address the inefficiency, indeterminacy, and information costs that currently plague the patent system. Ultimately, this proposal would achieve sweeping, multi-institutional patent reform from both ex ante and ex post perspectives.

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  Volume 94 / Issue 5  

Cities, Economic Development, and the Free Trade Constitution

By Richard C. Schragger
94 Va. L. Rev. 1091

Patent Claim Construction

By Thomas Chen
94 Va. L. Rev. 1165

How Automobile Accidents Stalled the Development of Interspousal Liability

By Elizabeth Katz
94 Va. L. Rev. 1213

The Chicken and the Egg: Kenneth S. Abraham’s “The Liability Century”

By Adam F. Scales
94 Va. L. Rev. 1259