492 F.3d 1377 (Fed. Cir. 2007), 2006-1539, Hutchins v. Zoll Medical Corp.

Docket Nº:2006-1539.
Citation:492 F.3d 1377, 83 U.S.P.Q.2d 1264
Party Name:Donald C. HUTCHINS, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. ZOLL MEDICAL CORPORATION, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:July 03, 2007
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Page 1377

492 F.3d 1377 (Fed. Cir. 2007)

83 U.S.P.Q.2d 1264

Donald C. HUTCHINS, Plaintiff-Appellant,



No. 2006-1539.

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit.

July 3, 2007

Appealed From United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts Judge Michael A. Ponsor.

Page 1378

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1379

Donald C. Hutchins, of Longmeadow, MA, pro se.

John C. Englander, Goodwin Procter LLP, of Boston, Massachusetts, for defendant-appellee. With him on the brief was John T. Bennett.

Page 1380

Before MICHEL, Chief Judge, NEWMAN and DYK, Circuit Judges.

NEWMAN, Circuit Judge.

This appeal arises from charges of patent and copyright infringement based on a computer-assisted system of administering emergency procedures, primarily cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Mr. Donald C. Hutchins charged Zoll Medical Corporation with infringement of Hutchins' United States Patent No. 5,913,685 (the '685 patent) entitled "CPR Computer Aiding." Mr. Hutchins also charged Zoll with copyright infringement and with breach of a contract between Hutchins and Zoll. The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts granted Zoll's motions for summary judgment of non-infringement on the patent and copyright counts, and that there was no breach of contract.1 Hutchins appeals the non-infringement rulings and assigns error to various procedural rulings; he also seeks to reopen the case based on charges of fraudulent non-disclosure by Zoll of relevant information.

The grant of summary judgment receives plenary appellate review, reapplying the standard applied by the district court. Thus we review whether there is a genuine issue of material fact, or if there can be but one reasonable verdict. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). To grant a motion for summary judgment there must be no reasonable view of material facts, with cognizance of the substantive evidentiary standards, whereby a reasonable jury could find for the non-movant. Id. at 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505; see, e.g., De Jesus-Rentas v. Baxter Pharm. Servs. Corp., 400 F.3d 72, 73-74 (1st Cir.2005); Depuy Spine, Inc. v. Medtronic Sofamor Danek, Inc., 469 F.3d 1005, 1013 (Fed.Cir.2006).

Patent Infringement

Patent infringement requires that every element and limitation in a correctly construed claim is embodied in the accused system either literally or, if embodied by an equivalent, in compliance with the rules of equivalency as set forth in Festo Corp. v. Shoketsu Kinzoku Kogyo Kabushiki Co., 535 U.S. 722, 122 S.Ct. 1831, 152 L.Ed.2d 944 (2002) and Warner-Jenkinson Co. v. Hilton Davis Chemical Co., 520 U.S. 17, 117 S.Ct. 1040, 137 L.Ed.2d 146 (1997) and implementing rulings.

The '685 patent describes and claims an interactive computer-directed system for guiding emergency rescue personnel in conducting on-site administration of CPR. The system instructs rescue personnel to input certain characteristics of the victim, such as the victim's age and state of consciousness; the system then provides detailed step-by-step procedures to be followed by the rescuer in order to administer CPR and resuscitate the victim. Features of the system described in the '685 patent include automated voice and visual signals and instructions, animated images, and audible speech prompts. Claim 1 is the broadest claim:

1. A general purpose computer system adapted for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) aiding to provide guidance to rescue personnel trained in CPR for resuscitating a victim under an emergency condition, comprising:

a computer terminal, including,

an output comprising a display and an electroacoustical transducer; and

Page 1381

an input comprising an interactive display input, wherein the interactive display unit is adapted for selecting from image or text viewed on the display that is representative at least of characteristics of said victim.

Zoll's accused device, trademarked "AEDPlus TM," is a portable computer system and defibrillator that provides automated voice and visual signals and instructions to guide rescue personnel through the steps to administer CPR to the victim and to defibrillate if necessary.

The elements of the '685 patent claims on which the district court relied are "general purpose computer" and "interactive display input." The district court found that neither of these elements is present in the Zoll system, and on this basis granted summary judgment of non-infringement.


All of the '685 claims require a "general purpose computer system" that is adapted to the specified purposes. The definition of "general purpose computer" was agreed by the parties as

a computer capable of running multiple unrelated programs, which are selected by the user and loaded into the device. It must feature at least: (1) a central processing unit, (2) one or more input devices that are not specific to any one program, (3) memory, (4) mass storage devices (such as a disk drive) for storing large amounts of data, and (5) one or more output devices.

Zoll's device contains a Hitachi SuperH RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) microprocessor. The district court observed that the '685 specification is specific to a general purpose computer and that all of the claims were so limited during prosecution. The court found that it was "implausible" for a RISC microprocessor to be deemed a general purpose computer, for RISC microprocessors have limited functionality. Thus the court held that "general purpose computer," as that term is used in the '685 patent, does not read on a RISC microprocessor and that the Zoll system thereby avoids infringement.

Mr. Hutchins argues that his invention is readily performed using a RISC microprocessor. He points out...

To continue reading