Yesterday, the Federal Circuit reminded us of another reason why method claims can be so valuable. In Crown Packaging Technology, Inc. v. Rexam Beverage Can Co., No. 08-1284 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 17. 2009), the court held, among other things, that a method claim does not require markings to enforce the patent in litigation.
In Crown Packaging, the plaintiff (the patent holder), in brief, did not mark its products with a patent number as required by 35 U.S.C. § 287(a) for most patented products. You’ve seen these markings on, for example, a Starbucks coffee sleeve (Pat. Nos. 5,205,473 and 6,863,644, to be precise).
Nevertheless, the court, consistent with precedent, allowed the patent holder to enforce its method claims. Method claims are used extensively in patents on software products, so this is good news for many of our clients.
For more about the decision, I’d refer you to Patently-O’s post on the case here.