The Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit erred when he booted patent infringement claims against "Street View", the Google feature that lets you look at images of houses, buildings, and other objects that line streets and highways online.
The mistake came in how Chief Judge Alex Kozinski construed a phrase -- "substantially elevations" -- that described the sorts of views you can see as a result of using Vederi LLC's image-making system. His Honor ruled after a Markman hearing that the term "elevations" refers to flat pictures showing an object from the (horizontal) side. "Street View", by contrast, creates curving images, Chief Judge Kozinski concluded.
Wrong, the Federal Circuit held, ruling that the district court failed to give any meaning to "substantially" in "substantially elevations" and also ignored other clues in the patent itself, all of which added up to a conclusion that the Vederi patents do cover images that curve. Vederi, LLC v. Google, Inc., No. 13-1057 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 14, 2014).