(Corrects headline to indicate Nautilus loss was tossed out)
WASHINGTON, June 2 The U.S. Supreme Court on
Monday threw out a lower court decision in a patent fight over
heart rate monitors, a decision that will affect other patent
Biosig Instruments Inc had accused Nautilus Inc of
infringing on its patented technology for monitors built into
fitness machines like treadmills, which register electrical
waves to estimate a user's heart rate.
Far beyond the gym, the case has implications for the
ongoing dispute over "patent trolls," the derisive name given to
companies that sue for infringement, or attempt to extract
licensing fees, by using what critics say are weak or overly
The Supreme Court said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Federal Circuit had set the bar too low in allowing patents to
be written vaguely.
"The expressions 'insolubly ambiguous' and 'amenable to
construction,' which permeate the Federal Circuit's recent
decisions ... fall short ... and can leave courts and the patent
bar at sea without a reliable compass," the Supreme Court said
in its ruling.
The case at the Supreme Court is Nautilus v Biosig
Instruments, Inc and is No. 13-369.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz, editing by Ros Krasny and Doina