The interpretation of patent claims is one of the most persistently vexing areas of U.S. patent law. In the 1996 Markman decision, the U.S. Supreme Court declared patent claim construction to be a question of law for the court, rather than a question of fact for the jury. Since then, courts, practitioners and academics have struggled with questions of how to interpret patent claims, including questions such as what materials outside the text of the claims should be used as aids to interpretation, and the overall hierarchy and value of such extrinsic materials. However, this analysis has been conducted largely within the silo of patent law doctrine. By and large, patent claim construction has not been considered from the perspective of the broader theoretical field of legal interpretation. Dr. Mammen will present key current issues in U.S. patent claim construction, and situate those issues in the context of legal interpretation generally.
Dr. CE Mammen (D.Phil., Oxon) is a Lecturer at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, California. He has more than a dozen years of experience as an intellectual property litigator in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.