Federal Circuit Upholds De Novo Standard of Review for Claim Construction: En Banc Majority Holds that Claim Construction Will Continue to Receive De Novo Review on Appeal, Maintaining Current Law

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - February 24, 2014

In Lighting Ballast Control LLC v. Philips Electronics North America Corp., the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld, en banc, current law under which all aspects of claim construction – the determination of the meaning and scope of patent claims and claim terms – are questions of law reviewed de novo. Contrary to the expectation of many commentators, the court thus reiterated the rules first set out in Cybor Corp. v. FAS Technologies, Inc. The Lighting Ballast en banc opinion concluded that judicial experience had shown that the Cybor standard was workable, and that no better alternative to de novo review had been suggested by the litigants or the amici curiae.