Free claims dictionaries recently released by the Public Patent Foundation, or “PUBPAT,” may change patent litigation and claims construction as we know it.
On March 1, 2010, PUBPAT published a news release informing the public that they are releasing their claims construction dictionaries free of charge. The news release (See link, above) also provides direct links to the glossaries, edited by David Garrod, in PDF format for easy access.
Intellectual Property attorneys have already presented mixed feelings about these easily accessible documents. On the one hand, these free dictionaries, if viewed as persuasive and reliable by the Courts, can substantially decrease the amount of time, money and effort spent unraveling even the simplest of terms in claims construction hearings. On the other hand, the general public may take this resource and run with it, presenting the possibiltiy that they might misstakenly view these dictionaries as a replacement for the need for an IP attorney.
In total, there are three free glossaries: one covering claim terms regarding electronics, computer science, and business methods; another for “mechanical, electro-mechanical, and medical devices”; and a third for “chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology arts.” It has been reported that in order to compile the dictionaries, Garrod reviewed every district and appellate court decision construing claim terms since 1995, when the Supreme Court’s Markman case was decided.