EB: TurboCare Div. of Demag Delaval Turbomachinery Corp. v. General Elec. Co., 264 F.3d 1111 (2001)

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  • TurboCare has a patent for a "shaft sealing system for fluid turbines," sues GE for infringement
    • At high loads, a spring is compressed and a seal is made at small clearance position, but when the load is small (not in operation) the spring depresses and the device shifts to a large clearance position, eliminating any rubbing damage problem


  • TurboCare originally claimed "flat, s-shaped springs" but stated that "a considerable variety of springs can be employed" - he amends this during prosecution to say that "flat springs and others can be employed," because GE's machines used flat springs.
    • Is this new matter, or simply a clarification of original claims?
    • Appellate court says that there is an "issue of fact" as to whether new matter was added - so they remand back to the trial court
  • Next issue of case is "between" v. "adjacent to" location of the spring
    • Patent was "lacking in any description of an embodiment in which the spring is located between the casing shoulders" - his disclose of "spring located...adjacent to said springs" is way to vague to constitute sufficient disclosure.
    • Thus, claim 2 was rejected based on failing to meet requirements of Section 112.
    • Note: patent was written in vague terms so as to avoid conflict with Warth prior art patent.

Concept: Means, Function Claim Language

  • Section 112 - you can express claims "as a means or step for performing a specified function without the recital of structure, material or acts in support thereof.."
    • These claims will be construed "to cover the corresponding structure, material or acts described in the specification and the equivalents thereof"