We will not reverse if, considering the record as a whole, the erroneous instruction
“could not have affected the outcome of the case.” Wright v. Ford Motor Co., 508 F.3d
263, 268 (5th Cir. 2007).
II. Claim Construction
On appeal, we must decide whether the district court properly construed the
claim term “distinct.” In the asserted claims, the term “distinct” is used to describe how
the metacode map and the mapped content are stored. Specifically, the claims say the
metacode map is stored in “distinct map storage means” or “distinct storage means.”
See, e.g., ’449 Patent col.16 ll.20, 25-26, 53-54. Analogously, the document’s content
is stored in “mapped content storage,” id. at col.16 ll.22-23, or “mapped content distinct
storage means.” Id. at col.15 l.51 (emphasis added).
Before the district court, Microsoft argued that “distinct” added two requirements:
(1) storing the metacode map and mapped content in separate files, not just separate
portions of the computer’s memory; and (2) the ability to edit the document’s content
and its metacode map “independently and without access” to each other.
The district court rejected both of Microsoft’s proposed limitations. Based on its
review of the claim language, the specification, and prosecution history, the district court
concluded that “distinct” did not require storage in separate files. Similarly, it concluded
that the user’s ability to independently edit the document’s structure or content was a
“distinct map storage means” in more general terms, as “a portion of memory for storing
a metacode map.” “Mapped content distinct storage means” was defined as “a portion
of memory for storing mapped content.”