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Chief Judge Sleet Construes Terms of Satellite Television Patents

Chief Judge Gregory Sleet recently issued a claim construction order in a longstanding patent infringement dispute involving interactive program guides for digital satellite broadcasts. See Pegasus Dev. Corp. v. DirecTV, Inc., C.A. No. 00-1020-GMS, Order (D. Del. Apr. 1, 2013). Judge Sleet construed the following terms, several of which he found to be means-plus-function terms and several of which had been previously construed by the Federal Circuit:
– “embedded signals”
– “recording the receipt of and passing to said devices of said embedded signals”
– “decrypting [an encrypted information transmission]”
– “switch means”
– “matrix switch means”
– “a first processor means operatively connected to said plurality of detector means for identifying each detected control signal as having been detected by a particular detector”
– “a second processor means for controlling the output directing function of said switch means”
– “a second processor means for controlling the output function of said switch means”
– “a processor means for controlling the output functions of said matrix switch means and the transfer functions of said storage/transfer means”
– “a processor means for controlling the directing function of said matrix switch means and the transfer functions of said storage/transfer means”
– “storage/transfer means for receiving an storing said control signals and for transferring at least a portion of said control signals for further processing”
– “causing said memory means to transmit selected information of said selected data unit at a selected time”
– “causing a switch associated with said intermediate input means to connect the output of a player associated with said recorder to at least one selected processor at a selected time”
– “member information”
– “outputting data that include additional information besides said input information”
– “assembling output records that include additional information besides said input information”
– “reprogrammable system”
– “reprogram”
– “operating instructions”
– “said memory device”
– “different signals”
– “[selected] television program transmission”
– “locations”
UPDATED:
Chief Judge Sleet had previously ordered the parties to submit supplemental briefing regarding whether the controller and processor “constitute structure corresponding to the claim terms ‘a second processor means for controlling the output directing function of said switch means’ and ‘a second processor means for controlling the output function of said switch means.'” Considering the parties’ supplemental briefing and oral arguments at the Markman hearing, Judge Sleet found that the two terms should be construed as means-plus-function terms with corresponding structures of the “signal processor” and the “cable program controller & computer.” Judge Sleet also refused to alter his previous claim construction to include a “controller” or “processor,” finding that they were sub-parts of the signal processor, and that there was “no need for the court to call out individual components of that processor or recognize it by alternative names.” See Pegasus Dev. Corp. v. DirecTV, Inc., C.A. No. 00-1020-GMS, Supplemental Order at 1-2 (D. Del. Apr. 15, 2013)

UPDATED:
Chief Judge Sleet granted in part plaintiffs’ motion for reargument regarding Judge Sleet’s claim construction order. Judge Sleet amended the Court’s construction of the term “decrypting [an encrypted information transmission]” to mean “using a digital key in conjunction with a set of associated mathematical operations to decipher digital data. This term does not include mere descrambling of an analog television transmission. The decrypting must be of the entire information transmission that is recited in step (b) of claim 14.” See Pegasus Dev. Corp. v. DirecTV, Inc., C.A. No. 00-1020-GMS, Order at 1 (D. Del. May. 15, 2013)

Pegasus Dev. Corp. v. DirecTV, Inc., C.A. No. 00-1020-GMS, Order (D. Del. Apr. 1, 2013).

See Pegasus Dev. Corp. v. DirecTV, Inc., C.A. No. 00-1020-GMS, Supplemental Order (D. Del. Apr. 15, 2013)

Pegasus Dev. Corp. v. DirectTV, Inc., C.A. No. 00-1020 (D. Del. May 15, 2013)

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