Hakim v. Cannon Avent Group

• Case: Hakim v. Cannon Avent Group 479 F.3d 1313 (2007)

• Facts: Hakim invented a cup with a dual seal system that prevents spills when the cup is tipped over. The cup was not the first kind of cup designed to prevent spills, and the inventor added different features than those that were included in the prior art. One of these features was a double valve system that only opens when a person is sucking on the drinking spout.

• Procedural History: Hakim sued Avent for infringement. The district court held on summary judgment that Advent did not infringe on Hakim’s claims, because Hakim’s claim was limited to a sealing mechanism that includes a flexible valve or diaphragm having a slit. Hakim appealed the district court’s ruling to the Fed. Cir.

• Arguments: Hakim argued that the district court’s claim construction was excessively constricted and that the claims do not require a slit that opens and closes, and that there is not a “slit” requirement. Avent argued that the prosecution history shows that Hakim tried to avoid the prior art references by including new limitations that were not included in the prior art. These limitations included a slit, and also included a second blocking element that the slit rests against.

• Court: The Fed. Cir. did not overrule the district court’s ruling, because there was not a showing that the trier of fact was led into error, or the trier of fact could have reached a different decision.

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