In EON Corp. IP Holdings LLC v. Silver Spring Networks, Inc., No. 15-1237, 815 F.3d 1314 (Fed. Cir. 2016), the Federal Circuit reversed a jury verdict and ordered judgment as a matter of law (“JMOL”)—without further proceedings in the district court—on an unarticulated claim construction that was raised by neither party below or on appeal. On Friday, October 21, EON Corp. IP Holdings, LLC (“EON”) filed a petition for certiorari for review of the decision. The petition (this author appears on the cover) presents a critical question regarding the extent to which an appellate court may grant judgement as a matter of law (JMOL) on a “purely legal” issue that was not preserved in a Rule 50(b) motion.
The Federal Circuit Decision
The Federal Circuit’s decision in EON Corp. was covered briefly in a previous IPWatchdog post by Robert Schaffer and Joseph Robinson. In short, the Federal Circuit determined that the district court incorrectly construed two patent claim terms—“portable” and “mobile”—as having their plain and ordinary meaning. Instead, the majority reasoned that those terms “should not be construed so broadly such that they covered ‘fixed or stationary products that are only theoretically capable of being moved.’” However, the panel refused to articulate a construction, noting instead that the terms could not have covered the accused devices because “when the claim terms are properly construed, no reasonable jury could have found that Silver Spring’s electric utility meters infringe.”
Matthew Murrell litigates patent, copyright, and general commercial disputes at Reed & Scardino. His work includes patent, copyright, and trademark infringement; copyright registration; contracts, licenses, and settlement agreements; statutory and regulatory compliance; and constitutional law, including equal protection. Matthew’s diverse group of clients work in telecommunications, entertainment (including music and publishing), software, business development, and startups. As a lifelong musician who constantly tinkers with analog music equipment in his spare time, Matthew has a unique appreciation for his clients both as technological innovators and content creators.