Do disparaged embodiments lack claim support?
I will preface this by saying that, much to my frustration, I could not find a case on all-fours with what you are proposing. It could well a novel situation1.
But there are two well-established principles that are related: claims are interpreted to exclude disparaged subject matter, and claims without essential elements lack support. I believe these two in combination provide the answer: yes, disparaged embodiments lack claim support.
Disparagement leads to narrowed claims
When an embodiment is consistently disparaged so as to make clear that it is outside of the scope of the patent, then the claims must be interpreted to exclude it.
This is well established. Ultimate Pointer2 is a recent CAFC authority for this, but it's much older. The most notable holding of the decision is:
At every turn, Nintendo argues, the specification of the ’729 patent extolls direct pointing and disparages indirect pointing. Because the inventor described his invention as encompassing direct pointing and repeatedly criticized indirect pointing, Nintendo continues, Ultimate Pointer may not now claim that indirect pointing is within the claim scope.
We agree with Nintendo that the district court did not err in construing “handheld device” as “handheld direct pointing device.” …
Taken together, the repeated description of the invention as a direct-pointing system, the repeated extolling of the virtues of direct pointing, and the repeated criticism of indirect pointing clearly point to the conclusion that the “handheld device” in claims 1, 3, 5, 6, and 12 is limited to a direct-pointing device.
In other words, where the description consistently disparages X so as to make clear that the applicant is disavowing X, then the claims must be interpreted so as to exclude X.
But what if the claims are unambiguous?
Ultimate Pointer does not expressly consider what happens if the claims are unambiguous. That is, what if you cannot interpret the claims to avoid disavowed subject matter? Indeed, I couldn't see that anyone had directly considered this.
However, I think there is an answer by analogy with the "essential element test"3.
That is, it is well established that for claims to have support, the inventor must have been in possession of the invention at the time of application4. The "essential element test" provides that if a certain element is noted in the description as essential, then the inventor cannot be regarded as being in possession of an invention without that element. Such a claim therefore lacks support.
This principle was established in Gentry5. This is an older, formative decision, but is still considered good law.
In this case, Gentry had enforced claims relating to a sectional sofa with a center console and controls for reclining the seats. The alleged infringer argued, among other things, that this was invalid for lacking support, because the description provided that the controls were on the console. The appellate court agreed:
Accordingly, when viewed in its entirety, the disclosure is limited to sofas in which the recliner control is located on the console. …
Because of this, claims could not be broader: the controls must be on the console.
Here, as indicated above, it is clear that Sproule [the inventor] considered the location of the recliner controls on the console to be an essential element of his invention. Accordingly, his original disclosure serves to limit the permissible breadth of his later-drafted claims. …
Gentry referred to an earlier decision, which referred to allowing an applicant to claim broader than the specific embodiment. The court distinguished this based on the level of description.
The claims at issue in Rasmussen, which were limited to the generic step of “adheringly applying” one layer to an adjacent layer, satisfied the written description requirement only because “one skilled in the art who read [the] specification would understand that it is unimportant how the layers are adhered, so long as they are adhered.” Here, on the contrary, one skilled in the art would clearly understand that it was not only important, but essential to Sproule's invention, for the controls to be on the console. …
In sum, the cases on which Gentry relies do not stand for the proposition that an applicant can broaden his claims to the extent that they are effectively bounded only by the prior art. Rather, they make clear that claims may be no broader than the supporting disclosure, and therefore that a narrow disclosure will limit claim breadth. Here, Sproule's disclosure unambiguously limited the location of the controls to the console. Accordingly, the district court clearly erred in finding that he was entitled to claims in which the recliner controls are not located on the console.
The summary is that is if the description makes clear that a certain element is essential, then the claims cannot be broader than that without lacking support.
A dangerous leap, in which a conclusion is reached
I would go out on a limb to say that these two principles can be combined, though I have no authority for this point.
That is, it is my opinion6 that if the description consistently disparages element X such that a broader claim would be interpreted to not include element X, then the inventor must not have been in possession of an invention involving element X. As such, a claim that is unambiguously to element X would be invalid for lacking support.
Since this relies on my opinion however, and I only play a lawyer on the anonymous Internet, you would very much be well-advised to talk to a real lawyer. They would be able to consider the facts of your situation, rather than abstract legal principles, and would be able to actually advise you.
Or I just missed something obvious in my search. But I prefer the other interpretation.
2 Ultimate Pointer LLC v. Nintendo Co. Ltd.
3 Many decisions have made clear is not a test, but is a way of looking at whether the inventor was in possession of the invention.
4 Hopefully this isn't a controversial statement to make. The MPEP provides a good discussion to this end with a bunch of references.
5 Gentry Gallery, Inc. v. Berkline Corp., 134 F.3d 1473, 45 USPQ2d 1498 (Fed. Cir. 1998).
6 In the sense that it's what I reckon, not in the sense that this is a formal opinion from a lawyer.