Circuit Clarifies Doctrine Of Equivalents Ruling

Law360, New York (July 6, 2007, 12:00 AM EDT) -- In a precedent-setting case over when a patent owner could claim infringement under the doctrine of equivalents, the Federal Circuit ruled Thursday that SMC Corp. did not infringe a Festo Corp. patent for rodless cylinders because SMC's device was foreseeable and prosecution history estoppel applied.

Festo's lawsuit, which has been pending for almost 20 years and involved two U.S. Supreme Court decisions, claimed that SMC infringed its patent under the doctrine of equivalents, which holds that if someone makes insubstantial changes to a patented invention, the...
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