Jenner & Block

Client Alert - Supreme Court: Underlying Factual Issues in Patent Claim Construction Must be Reviewed for Clear Error, Ultimate Conclusion De Novo

On Tuesday, January 20, 2015, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Teva Pharms. USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc., et al., 574 U.S. ___ (2015), regarding whether a de novo or clear error standard should apply when the Federal Circuit reviews a district court’s factual findings in support of claim construction.  In a 7-2 opinion by Justice Breyer, the Court held that when reviewing a district court’s resolution of underlying factual matters made in the course of claim construction, the Federal Circuit must apply the more deferential “clear error” standard of review, although the de novo standard still applies to the ultimate conclusion in claim construction.  Below, we provide a brief background of the case and summary of the decision, as well as our preliminary analysis of the decision.  The alert authored by Jenner & Block Partner Steven R. Trybus and Associates Michael G. Babbitt, and Peter H. Hanna provides a brief background of the case and summary of the decision, as well as their preliminary analysis of the decision.