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Significance of Precise Language in Legal Matters

12 / 3 / 2024

On March 7, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) overturned a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decision concerning a patent held by CoolIT Systems, Inc. The patent in question, U.S. Patent 9,057,567, pertains to fluid heat transfer systems used in cooling electronic devices. CoolIT contested the PTAB's interpretation of the term "matingly engaged" in the patent claims, arguing that it should be defined more narrowly as "mechanically joined or fitted together to interlock."


The PTAB’s construction, which fell between CoolIT’s narrow interpretation and Asetek’s broader one, was deemed flawed by the CAFC. Despite acknowledging the requirement for a specific type of engagement, the PTAB’s analysis was found lacking in precision. The court criticized the PTAB for not adequately justifying its interpretation with expert testimony and intrinsic evidence.


In response, the CAFC proposed its own definition of «matingly engaged» as «mechanically joined or fitted together,» aligning with the arguments presented by both parties. Consequently, the CAFC reversed the PTAB’s ruling, nullified its decision, and sent the case back for further consideration based on the CAFC’s interpretation.

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