DIEBOLD NIXDORF, INC. v. ITC, decided August 15, 2018

U.S. Patent No. 8,523,235, directed to an ATM.  The claim term “cheque standby unit” is disclosed as holding a cheque for possible return to the user (page 3).  The specification discloses a “cheque temporary standby unit,” discloses the location, and discloses the function (pages 3-5).  The unit is noted as being formed by a path and depicted as a location along the path (pages 4-5).   “Cheque standby unit” has no definite meaning as a name for structure, and the claim does not provide further structure for this unit (pages 9-10).  Implying structure by the function of holding is not sufficient structure (page 11).  The specification provides no indication of the structure (pages 19-20), so the claims are indefinite due to failure to provide structure for a means-plus-function limitation. 

Hindsight: In most situations, provide supporting structure or acts for any limitation that may be a means-plus-function limitation.  The drafter may avoid use of “unit” or other non-specific structure term in order to avoid invoking a means-plus-function interpretation.