Midgate a No-Go (Assuming Tonneau Patent)?

SparkChaser

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What about the safety implications of having a midgate and a high payload capability?
well that glass in the back is not going to hold back that much but I agree the idea of 5k in the bed and not bulkhead seems like a bad idea but that never stopped anyone. Bad Ideas are how you get experience.
Experience is how you make good choices....

 

FutureBoy

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well that glass in the back is not going to hold back that much but I agree the idea of 5k in the bed and not bulkhead seems like a bad idea but that never stopped anyone. Bad Ideas are how you get experience.
Experience is how you make good choices....
Experience is how you get Darwin awards.
Darwin awards are how we cull the herd.
 

JBee

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Or by inductive or deductive reasoning perhaps?

Bad ideas can well and truly be accommodated for, by considerate and deliberate simulation of as many variables as possible, before they occur.

Not all things "must be", or for that matter, "should" be, learned by the experience of trying it yourself. Plenty of mistakes others have made before you, that you can see, and you don't have to repeat.... 😊
 

FutureBoy

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Or by inductive or deductive reasoning perhaps?

Bad ideas can well and truly be accommodated for, by considerate and deliberate simulation of as many variables as possible, before they occur.

Not all things "must be", or for that matter, "should" be, learned by the experience of trying it yourself. Plenty of mistakes others have made before you, that you can see, and you don't have to repeat.... 😊
Not having to repeat a horrible mistake made by someone else will stop MOST from making the same mistake more fatally. MOST is a word that specifically excludes the set of ALL. There is always someone willing and wanting to give it a shot. After all, having seen the previous results, what could possibly go wrong?
 

JBee

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Not having to repeat a horrible mistake made by someone else will stop MOST from making the same mistake more fatally. MOST is a word that specifically excludes the set of ALL. There is always someone willing and wanting to give it a shot. After all, having seen the previous results, what could possibly go wrong?
Although I get your "most" definition and agree with it, it was not the point I was trying to make: rather that all of us should take care prior to trying something for the first time, to see if the predicted result meets our expectations or not, and if at all our predictions themselves have any merit.

The simulation allows for sub-simulation routines as well, using tools and skills, so why not capitalize on that to recreate how the simulation will respond with multiple tests in the virtual world, before trying it in the physical natural world, with non-spawnable consequences?

Life is to short to live in virtual alone, but our "reality" is also just a mind simulation of our perception, where we try to make sense of the world around us at this moment in time, by combining it with what we know and understand from our history. This is because there is a part of us that exists in both the physical and non physical world, by way of us dragging history, and moments that once were, to the present and now, and mixing them to create one consciousness of right now.

Hence also why "life happens" whilst we are planning our future. Our ability to condense the sequence of events (or time) makes us masters of time, and space, because knowledge, not just our own, can accumulate to create intentional change in our environment.
 
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Crissa

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See below post:
So you agree you said it and cannot support your post without leaning upon your visual interpretation which is irrelevant to the patent or how mechanical drawings are created.

Got it.

I do think that's an issue with the CT having a midgate. The batteries push the seats upward, making a fold flat surface impossible.
The deck of the bed is already higher because of that battery.

-Crissa
 

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At this point it feels like we are debating the difference between a pegasus and a unicorn.

But really, until we see a real CT this whole discussion is moot.
 
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cvalue13

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So you agree you said it and cannot support your post without leaning upon your visual interpretation which is irrelevant to the patent or how mechanical drawings are created.

Got it.
incorrect - you’re just being silly now (and to talk about “gaslighting”)

TLDR (again): the patent is clear the tonneau is stored partially in the bulkhead; the patent also does not account for any embodiment where that upper bulkhead channel folds, etc; accordingly, if the tomneau/patent being used by Tesla in the production CT is reflected in this patent, then there is no accommodation for a midgate.

The photos etc were additional support that the “if” conditional stated above appears to be satisfied: Tesla does appear to be using this tonneau/patent design.

If there’s a different parent out there, then who knows.
 

Crissa

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Again, you have not pointed out where in the patent text this detail you're leaning upon is.

Thank you for repeating yourself that you are in fact, incorrect, and base this upon not the patent but your own interpretation of the images. Which as I pointed out, is not how patents or mechanical drawings work.

This is one thing I do know, as that's part of what I went to University for.

Tracks connecting or disconnecting, or even bending while containing the tonneau would be a different feature in a different patent. If patentable at all, since this has been done before. Someone hiding a tonneau under a truck bed has not.

-Crissa
 


JBee

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Again, you have not pointed out where in the patent text this detail you're leaning upon is.

Thank you for repeating yourself that you are in fact, incorrect, and base this upon not the patent but your own interpretation of the images. Which as I pointed out, is not how patents or mechanical drawings work.

This is one thing I do know, as that's part of what I went to University for.

Tracks connecting or disconnecting, or even bending while containing the tonneau would be a different feature in a different patent. If patentable at all, since this has been done before. Someone hiding a tonneau under a truck bed has not.

-Crissa
Bit late for an appeal to authority arguement.

Patents most definitely use diagrams to define the words, and the patent.

Are you seriously suggesting we need to to dismiss all the diagrams in the patent?
 
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cvalue13

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This is turning into a metal roof argument. Never thought I'd think back fondly to that example.
Then prepare yourself!

Thank you for repeating yourself that you are in fact, incorrect,
Part of the issue here, is an apparent unwillingness to engage on the details. And so I respond previously in brief summary, which brevity naturally does not cover off every counter-consideration. At which point any such uncovered counter-consideration is sprung upon as evidence of partial thought.

So let’s either engage in the detail necessary to parse the topic, or stop the slap-fighting.

This is one thing I do know, as that's part of what I went to University for.
Because I’m certain you were a good student, I can only assume you had a poor teacher.

If we’re unzipping for bonafides, I’ll just say I have a sufficiently technical background (undergrad in molecular bio), a degree that relates to legal document interpretation in the first place (JD), legal coursework in patent/IP, and - while I’m not a practicing patent lawyer - I do have a 15 year carrier as a shareholder in an AmLaw top 10 firm where I charge $2,050/hour to, among other things, interpret and draft legal documents where far more is at stake than in these utility patents.

Granted, for obvious reasons I didn’t give this patent the same degree and care I might more important documents with which I’m being entrusted, but that’s really neither here nor there for several reasons, central of which:: I don’t view it as being that all that complicated or controversial.

So I’ll settle on calling the bonafides at least even.

With that - let’s in another way settle it absent the brevity that seems to be the opening for your every response:

No, because that's how it is. The patent is in the text, not the diagrams.
From the start, your recalcitrance seems rooted in a misunderstanding that, essentially, “patent illustrations don’t mean anything” which is both incorrect at law and nonsensical in reason. My emphasis below.

As with most any document, a patent is interpreted by giving words their “ordinary meaning,” with some caveats. Court may not rely on dictionary or treatise to “‘contradict any definition found in or ascertained by a reading of the patent documents.’” Id. Wasica Finance (Fed. Cir. 04/04/17) “Properly viewed, the ‘ordinary meaning’ of a claim term is its meaning to the ordinary artisan after reading the entire patent.” Phillips (Fed. Cir. 07/12/05) (en banc); Intel (2020-1664) (Fed. Cir. 12/28/21) And “the specification, not dictionaries or colloquial use, dictates a term’s ‘plain and ordinary meaning’”); United Video (Fed. Cir. 04/08/14) And while “[p]atents do not need to include drawings of particular embodiments in order to claim them…” Unwired Planet (Fed. Cir. 07/22/16), in seeking the ordinary meaning of terms “In deriving the meaning of a claim, courts “make use of three parts of the patent: the specification, the drawings, and the file wrapper.” Autogiro (CCPA 10/13/67) So, “[the file wrapper], specification and drawings [are used] to determine the scope of claims.” Id. Importantly, this also means that “the meaning of a claim term is clear from the intrinsic evidence, there is no reason to resort to extrinsic evidence.” Seabed (Fed. Cir. 08/11/21)

For these reasons, when drafting patents, good form is to avoid ambiguity where important by not merely including drawings, but in fact imbedding references to details the drawing’s within the text of the defining of terms in order to (if executed properly) rely on the clarity of visuals in drawings to supplement or complete the definition of terms. The end effect, then, is to not merely have drawings tacked to the end of verbal descriptions, but for the drawings themselves to comprise important elements of the definition of words within the descriptions.

Which was why I began by pointing out. It only that your injection was fundamentally misguided, it is internally inconsistent, which I then pointed out:

And I’m curious: if “the patent is in the text, not the diagrams” but the text defines the meaning of its words by reference to the “diagrams,” has the snake fully choked on its tail or has it only gotten started?
Now here is where I will relieve some confusion and note that it is by common misconception or loose speaking that a parents “specification” include only the written text. (See Chisum’s Principles of Patent Law, the treatise on patent law, describing this misuse of the term.) But in fact and practice the “specification” of a parent includes not only written text, but also drawings, graphs, computer code, genetic sequences, or any number of materials used to specify and remove ambiguity from the resulting definition of the claim. (See Mullally Patent Hermeneutics: Form and Substance in Claim Construction)

There are some types of patent illustrations that will contain more important information than the written specification. In design patents, only the illustrations have interpretive weight. But this importance is also true for some mechanical inventions, where shapes, surfaces, and textures are being claimed, or in explaining how the pieces and parts fit together.

If at this stage you’re inclined to continue repeating how drawings do not constitute part of a patents specifications, or how drawings are not critical to reducing interpretive ambiguity, or how drawings are to be ignored even when the author (wisely) uses the drawings to define the meaning of terms in the text itself: feel free to pick up Chisum’s treatise for a start, before reconnecting on that point.

While there are other legal and interpretive nuances galore that are relevant, you should simply be satisfied for present purposes that you are wrong, and in short: the drawings constitute part of specifications and so the meaning of the claims, if not the definitions of the terms used in the claims, and overriding whatever colloquial notion you may have of a term in the materials to the extent it contradicts the materials within the patent.

Back, then, to this:

Again, you have not pointed out where in the patent text this detail you're leaning upon is.
I did. But since you weren’t seemingly engaging in actual onboarding of the information rather than relying on misguided university remembrances, you likely overlooked it.

Feel free to put on your interpretive hat and dive into the patent, empowered with the ability to perhaps understand it for the first time now that you feel free to read the definitions of terms created by embedded reference to the attendant drawings.

I’ll for your benefit in that effort repeat only the most salient bits here. But, if you feel yourself inclined to jump on some apparent gap as proof, stop, and remember the point of a summary: to help you avoid reading the entirety of the patent for the fuller, well considered, picture.

Step One: “When in a retracted or stored position, the tonneau cover 110 is rolled and stored below the junction of the cab 103 and bed 104 as will be described in more detail below.”

This is basically an introduction to the design within the patent, to be elaborated on later in the patent. But the signal is already coming clear when the text states the tonneau is stored below the junction of the cab and the bed.

One might wonder where, exactly, is “below” the “junction” of the “cab” and the “bed.” At least in this introductory paragraph, it’s not yet clear. And neither Fig. 1A or 1B to which this references even shows the tonneau, as it’s instead or orienting graphic.

But Tesla has better patent attorneys than that. So they go on:
“Now turning to Figure 2, as shown, the tonneau cover 110 in a retracted or stored position forms a coil at a location behind the passenger compartment of the cab 103.”
So, the tonneau cover is shown “coiled” as “behind” the passenger conpartmentportion of Fig. 2 item 110 - shown here (red arrow)

0809968C-2B62-47F8-B605-27BF39E16423.jpeg

“Gotcha!” they think, “see it says the tonneau is coiled below the bed!”

Yes, seems about 2/3 of it sure is! But the patent goes on!

“The tonneau cover 110 slides down below the level of a rear cab window 140 at the end of the bed 104 so that a driver can see out the rear cab window 140 when the tonneau cover 110 is in the retracted or stored position.”

So the cover (110 as above) slides down “below the level of a rear cab window” (140). Strange here that it doesn’t say the the cover slides down “behind the passenger compartment of the cab,” which is where the patent has previously defined the “coil” to be located. Stranger still that it says the cover is in this position below the window when the cover is in the “retracted and stored position,” when that same positional description of “retraced and stored position” previously described the coiled portion. All strange, unless the cover when in the “retracted and stored position” is both in a coil “behind the passenger compartment of the cab” and “below the level of the rear window.”

Helpfully, in the patent twice now describing the cover as being in the “retracted and stored position” it has referred to Figure 2 above, which shows the cover being partially in said coil and partially under said window.

If intending to describe a functionality that instead fully coils the cover “behind the passenger compartment of the cab” when in the “retracted and stored position,” one would expect an additional diagram of the cover fully-fully retracted-retracted (more fully retracted?) and completely stored in a coil “behind the passenger compartment of the cab.”

But there’s no such figure. All such references (quoted above and elsewhere in the parent) to the cover’s “fully retracted and stored position” refer only to this Fig. 2, showing the cover being both coiled behind the passenger cabin and below the rear window.

For contrast, when the patent elsewhere describes the cover in the “closed position” and references the figures, it is in fact shown as “closed” as we’d expect, not 2/3 open leaving the patent unclear as to what “closed” means - just as it doesn’t leave unclear what “fully retracted and stored position” means.

One last key interpretive point that brings together the patents definitional description of the tonneau’s configuration when “fully closed and stored”: the phrasing of “behind” the passenger compartment is completely consistent with and accurate of this configuration described in Fig. 2: both the “coil” and the remainder ~1/3 of the tonneau “below” the rear window, are all “behind” the passenger compartment.

Which, by way only of summary of the patent and not it’s complete recounting of all , is why my OP stated:

My best read of this patent, therefore, is that Figure 2 accurately describes the patent’s position of the stored tonneau as including not just the rolled portion “under” the bed/passenger, but also this upper length of tonneau being stored up along and into the bulkhead “behind” the passenger, terminating just below the rear window.
But to interpret the patent on these points requires squaring the interpretation with the remaining portions of the patent’s descriptions. While other bits are available in this line of inquiry through the rest of the parent, one key portion jumps out as (1) consistent with my reading above, and (2) inconsistent with an alternative reading (if one felt they still needed it) that has the entire cover coiled when “fully retracted and stored”


“The opening [for the tonneau channel] 130 is partially formed from a rear wall 120 of the cab 103. The rear wall 120 is used to protect the tonneau cover 110 in its retracted position from being hit and damaged by an object disposed in the bed 104. For example, when the vehicle 100 is being driven, the objects stored in the bed 104 may shift within the bed 104. The rear wall 120 prevents these objects from striking and possibly damaging the retracted tonneau cover.

Referencing Figure 2 again, the “rear wall 120” is [expectedly] the bed bulkhead just below the window and above the bed floor. Shifting cargo in the bed would not “strik[e] and possibly damag[e]” a tonneau retracted completely below the level of the bed floor.
Not to be redundant but instead feeling a need to be: the bulkhead is described as protecting the tonneau from shifting cargo damage when in its retracted position. If the cover was instead underneath the bed when retracted, no damage would come to the cover from cargo shifting whatsoever, much less would that damage occur at the location of the bulkhead.

Someone still recalcitrant at this point is welcome to do the work of finding contrary interpretive support in the patent. It will be hard, absent language I’ve overlooked, but more difficult absent neither definitional figures showing the cover completely coiled below the bed, nor any reference to the cover being retracted that doesn’t instead describe or illustrate the top 1/3 portion being located within the bulkhead as in Fig. 2.

At best, such contrary interpretations would not accomplish proving the patent shows the cover coiled fully under the bed. In stead it would only be to establish that the patent itself is ambiguous, and so poorly drafted. In other words, given what textual evidence I’ve laid out which do in fact exist, the rules of patent interpretation would seek to reconcile any ambiguity lest any contrary interpretive “evidence” to the contrary in the patent invalidating the clarity of claims of the patent for ambiguity. (And so indirectly also taking the position that Tesla’s patent lawyers didn’t know what they were doing when drafting this purportedly ambiguous patent.) I’d actually find that an interesting conclusion, if supported.

What would be uninteresting as well as unsupported if not disingenuous would be for someone to merely here (re)inject something like: “naw, it’s below the bed only” or “but where does it say what you say” or some other such non-additive nor thoughtful nor serious contribution. Deal with the details, or admit disinterest.

Which, by example of such unthoughtful injections, brings us to some such:

Tracks connecting or disconnecting, or even bending while containing the tonneau would be a different feature in a different patent. If patentable at all, since this has been done before.
The point(s) should be obvious but to be rid of it:

(1) as a tonneau that retracts through a channel collocated with the bulkhead has not been done before, the interface of a midgate with such a retractable tonneau channel would seem no less patentable in value than the entirety of the subject patent we’re discussing

(2) because this tonneau retracts through a channel coloccated with the location of a midgate, describing how the former and latter interface would be design Tesla would patent, and we know of no such alternative design

(3) to suggest that this patent would (quite understandably) go so deep as to provide exceeding detail of the minutia of the cover’s interlocking roller/channel features for the purposes of coiling, etc., , but would not (quite bizarrely) bother to cover how those same features may operate and behave to deal with a collocated channel disconnect, is just… unserious

52EFA260-5AF6-485B-8FA4-8D11A207A90F.jpeg
2D39CD74-7C78-4729-8B9F-894F773A7DAD.jpeg


(4) you say it would instead be a part of a different patent, which has not been filed (or we’d know about it) … fine. Maybe they’re also adding wings to the CT. I don’t know.

BUT ALL IN ALL, THIS AND EVERYTHING ELSE MISSES THE ONLY AND EVER LIMITED THRUST OF MY ORIGINAL POST:

whether or not the midgate has place to fold (forward or backwards), and whether or not the tonneau rolls completely below the bulkhead when stored, the channel for the tonneau path is where a midgate would be located. A midgate would be possible in that location only if the folding midgate also folds (or obstructs) the tonneau channel. Folding (or obstructing) that channel would be an engineering challenge. Even if that engineering challenge was overcome, it would result in have several consequences to the operation of the tonneau (since the tonneau channel would be obstructed):

  • before folding a midgate, the tonneau would have to be either completely stored below the bed (out of the channel), or completely deployed/closed (out of the channel)
  • Thereafter, to make any future alteration of the tonneau position, the midgate would need to be unfolded (to ‘reconnect’ the tonneau channel)
In other words: even if other parents exist for the midgate to work alongside this collocated tonneau channel, on any interpretation of this patent (below the bed, behind the seat, wherever) it is unavoidable that the cover and midgate functionality would be an unwieldy, awkward, shadow of the sort of midgate functionality people have hoped for.

Which for these and other reasons of consequences of this patent’s design (regardless of where the tonneau is “fully” stored) amounts to the same, limited, conclusion for me:


CONCLUSION:

At least for any vehicle design materially utilizing this patent design for the tonneau, it seems exceedingly unlikely there could be any midgate that did not render the vault/tonneau operation too awkward or useless for practicability….

If the ultimate production vehicle also utilizes this parent, and it doesn’t have an optional midgate, I personally feel pretty satisfied as to one key reason. The tonneau is key to the CT’s aerodynamics and functionality. And at least in this patent design, the tonneau design renders a midgate a no-go.
Now, quibble all one wants as to whether this patent alone “renders the midgate a no-go” if taken out of context to not be read alongside the Miriam of qualifications that preceded the comment.

But at the end of the day:

it does not matter if one thinks the tonneau is stored fully below the bed or partially behind the back seats , because the channel being collocated with the bulkhead means tonneau functionality will be hobbled in what seem near fatal ways

it does not matter if one thinks other patents exist for the midgate functionality that is collocated with this tonneau design, because the channel being collocated with the bulkhead means tonneau functionality will be hobbled in what seem near fatal ways

it does not matter if one agrees with the details of my patent interpretations above, because the channel being collocated with the bulkhead means tonneau functionality will be hobbled in what seem near fatal ways

it doesn’t even matter if one disagrees that the tonneau channel being collected with the bulkhead will hobble tonneau functionality in “near fatal ways,” because that position would only indicate that person hasn’t thought through the practical consequences of a tonneau cover that cannot operate independent of the open status of any collocated midgate

it doesn’t matter if one thinks alternative patents are out there that reconfigure the tonneau to not be collocated with the bulkhead/midgate, because I limited my point only to the assumption of this patent

So, given the five bullets above, it’s unclear why anyone would care or continue to argue about whether patent claims include the drawings (they do), whether this patent says the tonneau is stored partially within the bulkhead (it does, or else it’s only a bad patent that describes neither), or - as far as I can tell - any other response so far offered.

Let’s be done with it.
 
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Crissa

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Long answer. Also all incorrect or irrelevant.

You can't find anything in the patent to support your view. Hence, you were incorrect, and you admit it.

Nowhere does it say one way or another about whether it stays in the wall or whether it's incompatible with a wall or window that opens.

You could have provided these paragraphs pages before, but did not.

This conversation is over.

-Crissa

PS, a shareholder in a law firm? That's seriously not supporting that you know how to read patents or mechanical drawings.
 
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cvalue13

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PS, a shareholder in a law firm? That's seriously not supporting that you know how to read patents or mechanical drawings.
I mean, if we’re pointing to university coursework as bonafides, I thought even citing my experience drawing still life was relevant - being a person with a law degree, coursework in patent law, and a career involving legal drafting and interpretation of technical industrial process documents I thought maybe slightly better than my still life drawing experience, with regards to interpreting legal documents drafted by lawyers for the reading by other lawyers in disputes among lawyers in front of judges who are lawyers.

But hey, it’s maybe a stretch! That is, afterall, why my OP stated up front:

That said, I suspect an experienced patent lawyer could provide color and nuance that I may overlook.
 

JBee

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Then prepare yourself!



Part of the issue here, is an apparent unwillingness to engage on the details. And so I respond previously in brief summary, which brevity naturally does not cover off every counter-consideration. At which point any such uncovered counter-consideration is sprung upon as evidence of partial thought.

So let’s either engage in the detail necessary to parse the topic, or stop the slap-fighting.



Because I’m certain you were a good student, I can only assume you had a poor teacher.

If we’re unzipping for bonafides, I’ll just say I have a sufficiently technical background (undergrad in molecular bio), a degree that relates to legal document interpretation in the first place (JD), legal coursework in patent/IP, and - while I’m not a practicing patent lawyer - I do have a 15 year carrier as a shareholder in an AmLaw top 10 firm where I charge $2,050/hour to, among other things, interpret and draft legal documents where far more is at stake than in these utility patents.

Granted, for obvious reasons I didn’t give this patent the same degree and care I might more important documents with which I’m being entrusted, but that’s really neither here nor there for several reasons, central of which:: I don’t view it as being that all that complicated or controversial.

So I’ll settle on calling the bonafides at least even.

With that - let’s in another way settle it absent the brevity that seems to be the opening for your every response:



From the start, your recalcitrance seems rooted in a misunderstanding that, essentially, “patent illustrations don’t mean anything” which is both incorrect at law and nonsensical in reason. My emphasis below.

As with most any document, a patent is interpreted by giving words their “ordinary meaning,” with some caveats. Court may not rely on dictionary or treatise to “‘contradict any definition found in or ascertained by a reading of the patent documents.’” Id. Wasica Finance (Fed. Cir. 04/04/17) “Properly viewed, the ‘ordinary meaning’ of a claim term is its meaning to the ordinary artisan after reading the entire patent.” Phillips (Fed. Cir. 07/12/05) (en banc); Intel (2020-1664) (Fed. Cir. 12/28/21) And “the specification, not dictionaries or colloquial use, dictates a term’s ‘plain and ordinary meaning’”); United Video (Fed. Cir. 04/08/14) And while “[p]atents do not need to include drawings of particular embodiments in order to claim them…” Unwired Planet (Fed. Cir. 07/22/16), in seeking the ordinary meaning of terms “In deriving the meaning of a claim, courts “make use of three parts of the patent: the specification, the drawings, and the file wrapper.” Autogiro (CCPA 10/13/67) So, “[the file wrapper], specification and drawings [are used] to determine the scope of claims.” Id. Importantly, this also means that “the meaning of a claim term is clear from the intrinsic evidence, there is no reason to resort to extrinsic evidence.” Seabed (Fed. Cir. 08/11/21)

For these reasons, when drafting patents, good form is to avoid ambiguity where important by not merely including drawings, but in fact imbedding references to details the drawing’s within the text of the defining of terms in order to (if executed properly) rely on the clarity of visuals in drawings to supplement or complete the definition of terms. The end effect, then, is to not merely have drawings tacked to the end of verbal descriptions, but for the drawings themselves to comprise important elements of the definition of words within the descriptions.

Which was why I began by pointing out. It only that your injection was fundamentally misguided, it is internally inconsistent, which I then pointed out:



Now here is where I will relieve some confusion and note that it is by common misconception or loose speaking that a parents “specification” include only the written text. (See Chisum’s Principles of Patent Law, the treatise on patent law, describing this misuse of the term.) But in fact and practice the “specification” of a parent includes not only written text, but also drawings, graphs, computer code, genetic sequences, or any number of materials used to specify and remove ambiguity from the resulting definition of the claim. (See Mullally Patent Hermeneutics: Form and Substance in Claim Construction)

There are some types of patent illustrations that will contain more important information than the written specification. In design patents, only the illustrations have interpretive weight. But this importance is also true for some mechanical inventions, where shapes, surfaces, and textures are being claimed, or in explaining how the pieces and parts fit together.

If at this stage you’re inclined to continue repeating how drawings do not constitute part of a patents specifications, or how drawings are not critical to reducing interpretive ambiguity, or how drawings are to be ignored even when the author (wisely) uses the drawings to define the meaning of terms in the text itself: feel free to pick up Chisum’s treatise for a start, before reconnecting on that point.

While there are other legal and interpretive nuances galore that are relevant, you should simply be satisfied for present purposes that you are wrong, and in short: the drawings constitute part of specifications and so the meaning of the claims, if not the definitions of the terms used in the claims, and overriding whatever colloquial notion you may have of a term in the materials to the extent it contradicts the materials within the patent.

Back, then, to this:



I did. But since you weren’t seemingly engaging in actual onboarding of the information rather than relying on misguided university remembrances, you likely overlooked it.

Feel free to put on your interpretive hat and dive into the patent, empowered with the ability to perhaps understand it for the first time now that you feel free to read the definitions of terms created by embedded reference to the attendant drawings.

I’ll for your benefit in that effort repeat only the most salient bits here. But, if you feel yourself inclined to jump on some apparent gap as proof, stop, and remember the point of a summary: to help you avoid reading the entirety of the patent for the fuller, well considered, picture.

Step One: “When in a retracted or stored position, the tonneau cover 110 is rolled and stored below the junction of the cab 103 and bed 104 as will be described in more detail below.”

This is basically an introduction to the design within the patent, to be elaborated on later in the patent. But the signal is already coming clear when the text states the tonneau is stored below the junction of the cab and the bed.

One might wonder where, exactly, is “below” the “junction” of the “cab” and the “bed.” At least in this introductory paragraph, it’s not yet clear. And neither Fig. 1A or 1B to which this references even shows the tonneau, as it’s instead or orienting graphic.

But Tesla has better patent attorneys than that. So they go on:
“Now turning to Figure 2, as shown, the tonneau cover 110 in a retracted or stored position forms a coil at a location behind the passenger compartment of the cab 103.”
So, the tonneau cover is shown “coiled” as “behind” the passenger conpartmentportion of Fig. 2 item 110 - shown here (red arrow)

0809968C-2B62-47F8-B605-27BF39E16423.jpeg

“Gotcha!” they think, “see it says the tonneau is coiled below the bed!”

Yes, seems about 2/3 of it sure is! But the patent goes on!

“The tonneau cover 110 slides down below the level of a rear cab window 140 at the end of the bed 104 so that a driver can see out the rear cab window 140 when the tonneau cover 110 is in the retracted or stored position.”

So the cover (110 as above) slides down “below the level of a rear cab window” (140). Strange here that it doesn’t say the the cover slides down “behind the passenger compartment of the cab,” which is where the patent has previously defined the “coil” to be located. Stranger still that it says the cover is in this position below the window when the cover is in the “retracted and stored position,” when that same positional description of “retraced and stored position” previously described the coiled portion. All strange, unless the cover when in the “retracted and stored position” is both in a coil “behind the passenger compartment of the cab” and “below the level of the rear window.”

Helpfully, in the patent twice now describing the cover as being in the “retracted and stored position” it has referred to Figure 2 above, which shows the cover being partially in said coil and partially under said window.

If intending to describe a functionality that instead fully coils the cover “behind the passenger compartment of the cab” when in the “retracted and stored position,” one would expect an additional diagram of the cover fully-fully retracted-retracted (more fully retracted?) and completely stored in a coil “behind the passenger compartment of the cab.”

But there’s no such figure. All such references (quoted above and elsewhere in the parent) to the cover’s “fully retracted and stored position” refer only to this Fig. 2, showing the cover being both coiled behind the passenger cabin and below the rear window.

For contrast, when the patent elsewhere describes the cover in the “closed position” and references the figures, it is in fact shown as “closed” as we’d expect, not 2/3 open leaving the patent unclear as to what “closed” means - just as it doesn’t leave unclear what “fully retracted and stored position” means.

One last key interpretive point that brings together the patents definitional description of the tonneau’s configuration when “fully closed and stored”: the phrasing of “behind” the passenger compartment is completely consistent with and accurate of this configuration described in Fig. 2: both the “coil” and the remainder ~1/3 of the tonneau “below” the rear window, are all “behind” the passenger compartment.

Which, by way only of summary of the patent and not it’s complete recounting of all , is why my OP stated:



But to interpret the patent on these points requires squaring the interpretation with the remaining portions of the patent’s descriptions. While other bits are available in this line of inquiry through the rest of the parent, one key portion jumps out as (1) consistent with my reading above, and (2) inconsistent with an alternative reading (if one felt they still needed it) that has the entire cover coiled when “fully retracted and stored”




Not to be redundant but instead feeling a need to be: the bulkhead is described as protecting the tonneau from shifting cargo damage when in its retracted position. If the cover was instead underneath the bed when retracted, no damage would come to the cover from cargo shifting whatsoever, much less would that damage occur at the location of the bulkhead.

Someone still recalcitrant at this point is welcome to do the work of finding contrary interpretive support in the patent. It will be hard, absent language I’ve overlooked, but more difficult absent neither definitional figures showing the cover completely coiled below the bed, nor any reference to the cover being retracted that doesn’t instead describe or illustrate the top 1/3 portion being located within the bulkhead as in Fig. 2.

At best, such contrary interpretations would not accomplish proving the patent shows the cover coiled fully under the bed. In stead it would only be to establish that the patent itself is ambiguous, and so poorly drafted. In other words, given what textual evidence I’ve laid out which do in fact exist, the rules of patent interpretation would seek to reconcile any ambiguity lest any contrary interpretive “evidence” to the contrary in the patent invalidating the clarity of claims of the patent for ambiguity. (And so indirectly also taking the position that Tesla’s patent lawyers didn’t know what they were doing when drafting this purportedly ambiguous patent.) I’d actually find that an interesting conclusion, if supported.

What would be uninteresting as well as unsupported if not disingenuous would be for someone to merely here (re)inject something like: “naw, it’s below the bed only” or “but where does it say what you say” or some other such non-additive nor thoughtful nor serious contribution. Deal with the details, or admit disinterest.

Which, by example of such unthoughtful injections, brings us to some such:



The point(s) should be obvious but to be rid of it:

(1) as a tonneau that retracts through a channel collocated with the bulkhead has not been done before, the interface of a midgate with such a retractable tonneau channel would seem no less patentable in value than the entirety of the subject patent we’re discussing

(2) because this tonneau retracts through a channel coloccated with the location of a midgate, describing how the former and latter interface would be design Tesla would patent, and we know of no such alternative design

(3) to suggest that this patent would (quite understandably) go so deep as to provide exceeding detail of the minutia of the cover’s interlocking roller/channel features for the purposes of coiling, etc., , but would not (quite bizarrely) bother to cover how those same features may operate and behave to deal with a collocated channel disconnect, is just… unserious

52EFA260-5AF6-485B-8FA4-8D11A207A90F.jpeg
2D39CD74-7C78-4729-8B9F-894F773A7DAD.jpeg


(4) you say it would instead be a part of a different patent, which has not been filed (or we’d know about it) … fine. Maybe they’re also adding wings to the CT. I don’t know.

BUT ALL IN ALL, THIS AND EVERYTHING ELSE MISSES THE ONLY AND EVER LIMITED THRUST OF MY ORIGINAL POST:



In other words: even if other parents exist for the midgate to work alongside this collocated tonneau channel, on any interpretation of this patent (below the bed, behind the seat, wherever) it is unavoidable that the cover and midgate functionality would be an unwieldy, awkward, shadow of the sort of midgate functionality people have hoped for.

Which for these and other reasons of consequences of this patent’s design (regardless of where the tonneau is “fully” stored) amounts to the same, limited, conclusion for me:




Now, quibble all one wants as to whether this patent alone “renders the midgate a no-go” if taken out of context to not be read alongside the Miriam of qualifications that preceded the comment.

But at the end of the day:

it does not matter if one thinks the tonneau is stored fully below the bed or partially behind the back seats , because the channel being collocated with the bulkhead means tonneau functionality will be hobbled in what seem near fatal ways

it does not matter if one thinks other patents exist for the midgate functionality that is collocated with this tonneau design, because the channel being collocated with the bulkhead means tonneau functionality will be hobbled in what seem near fatal ways

it does not matter if one agrees with the details of my patent interpretations above, because the channel being collocated with the bulkhead means tonneau functionality will be hobbled in what seem near fatal ways

it doesn’t even matter if one disagrees that the tonneau channel being collected with the bulkhead will hobble tonneau functionality in “near fatal ways,” because that position would only indicate that person hasn’t thought through the practical consequences of a tonneau cover that cannot operate independent of the open status of any collocated midgate

it doesn’t matter if one thinks alternative patents are out there that reconfigure the tonneau to not be collocated with the bulkhead/midgate, because I limited my point only to the assumption of this patent

So, given the five bullets above, it’s unclear why anyone would care or continue to argue about whether patent claims include the drawings (they do), whether this patent says the tonneau is stored partially within the bulkhead (it does, or else it’s only a bad patent that describes neither), or - as far as I can tell - any other response so far offered.

Let’s be done with it.
Gosh... and I thought I knew how to pick a bone with Crissa. 😛

This is next level stuff. And honestly has more detail and more effort put into it than 12,000 other posts. Remind me not to take you to court...or if I do, that you're on my side. At $2k an hour what does Crissa owe you now?
Sheeesh! 🤣

 

 
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