Markman Hearing

One result of the United States Supreme Court case, Markman et al v. Westview Instruments, Inc. et al, 517 U.S. 370 (1986), was to clearly place the responsibility for claim construction in the hands of the judge rather than the jury. As a result in a U.S. patent case, before trial, the court holds what is known as a Markman hearing at which the Judge determines the meaning of the claims and the claim terms and issues a “Markman Ruling.” The hearing is usually hotly contested, since both infringement and validity of the patent may turn on its outcome. A high proportion of U.S. patent cases settle after the Markman ruling issues. See Claim Chart.