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6 J. Bus. & Tech. L. Proxy 1 (2011)

handle is hein.journals/jbtprxy6 and id is 1 raw text is: NGAI ZHANG*

Marteck Biosciences Corp. v. Nutrinova, Inc.:
Flipping the Lexiographer Rule on its Head
considered whether the claim term animal included humans where the patent
specification provides a single sentence definition for the claim term.' The Martek
court held that the term animal included humans because the specification
contained a sentence that gave the term the broader construction of any Animalia
organism rather than that of its ordinary meaning and the rest of the specification
did not reveal the patentee's clear intent to renounce such broad scope.' In so
holding, the Martek court ruled that when a patentee explicitly assigns a special
meaning to a claim term anywhere in the specification, the new meaning controls
unless the specification reveals that the patentee unmistakably rejects that
definition.' As such, the majority created a new rule that effectively turns the
established lexicographer rule-that the specification must reveal the patentee's
clear intent to override the term's ordinary meaning-on its head.5 If the majority
had followed precedent, it would have found that Martek did not satisfy the
lexicographer rule, and thus, held that Martek's purported definition did not
override the plain meaning of the term animal, which did not include humans.6
By announcing its new rule, the court conceivably modified the legal scope of
patents   drafted  in  reliance   on   the  established  lexicographer    rule-either
inconsistently broadening or narrowing such scope.'
© 2011 Ngai Zhang.
I  J.D. 2011, University of Maryland School of Law.
1.  579 F.3d 1363 (Fed. Cir. 2009).
2.  Martek, 579 F.3d at 1379-80. Claim term may refer to words or phrases in the claims section of the
patent specification. In patent law, a bedrock principle is that the claims of a patent define the invention to
which the patentee is entitled the right to exclude. Innova/Pure Water, Inc. v. Safari Water Filtration Sys., Inc.,
381 F.3d 1111, 1115 (Fed. Cir. 2004).
3.  Martek, 579 F.3d at 1380.
4.  Id.
5.  See infra Part IV.A.
6.  See infra Part IV.B.
7.  See infra Part IV.C.


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