Articles Posted in D. Del. Claim Construction Decisions

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In Comcast IP Holdings I, LLC v. Sprint Communications Company L.P., et al., C.A. No. 12-205-RGA (D. Del. Aug. 22, 2014), Judge Richard G. Andrews recently construed a single disputed term (“parsing”) found in U.S. Patent Nos. 7,012,916 and 8,204,046.  The Court explained that “[u]ntil recently, the parties had agreed that ‘parsing’ had a plain and ordinary meaning,” but now had submitted competing constructions.  Id. at 1.  Having heard oral argument on this issue on August 20, the Court did not adopt either party’s construction in full, but its construction (“An automated process of analyzing a string according to a set of rules of a grammar”) was closer to what plaintiff had proposed.  Id. at 3.

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Judge Andrews recently issued a claim construction opinion in Alltech Associates., Inc. v. Teledyne Instruments, Inc., C.A. No. 13-425-RGA (D. Del. Aug. 25, 2014).  The following terms from the plaintiff’s patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 8,115,930, 8,305,581, 8,305,582, and 8,314,934, were construed by the Court:

  • “during a/the/said chromatographic run”
  • “collecting the one or more components from the stream in a faction collector during the chromatographic run in response to a change in the composite signal during said chromatographic run”
  • “a fraction collector operatively adapted to collect a fraction in response to a change in the composite signal during said chromatographic run”
  • “collecting the one or more components from the stream in a fraction collector during the chromatographic run in response to a change in at least one of said signals during said chromatographic run”
  • “a fraction collector to collect at least one fraction corresponding to one of said components in response to a change in at least one of said signals during said chromatographic run”
  • “composite signal”
  • “obliterate”
  • “actively controlling fluid flow”
  • “active splitter”
  • “actively moving”

The following terms from the defendant’s patents, U.S. Patents Nos. 7,419,598 and 8,414,773, were construed:

  • “solvent-level indicating signal”
  • “initiating a replenishment process”
  • “immersing a solvent compatible portion of a pressure sensor or bubbler for generating the solvent-level indicating signal in the solvent reservoir before the chromatographic run”
  • “target time of run resolution”
  • “gradient profile”
  • “performing chromatography on the sample with the at least one gradient run for samples in which the target resolution and target time of run resolution were met with the at least one gradient run”
  • “pilot run”

 

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Judge Sue L. Robinson recently construed several claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,243,004, entitled “Self-configuring controls for heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems.  Carrier Corp. v. Goodman Global, Inc., et al., Civ. No. 12-930-SLR (D. Del. Aug. 14, 2014).  The following terms were construed:

 

  • “HVAC units”
  •  “data bus”
  • “central control”
  • “control algorithms”
  • “optimal control strategy”
  • “characteristic(s)” and “characteristic information”
  • “said control”
  • “connectivity kit”

Judge Robinson found that the following terms did not need to be construed by the Court, explaining that in light of the Court’s other claim constructions the jury would understand the limitations based on their plain and ordinary meaning:

  • “indoor unit” and “outdoor unit”
  • “determining an optimal control strategy for said indoor unit and said outdoor unit”
  • “selecting a particular one of said optimal control strategies”
  • “selecting one of said plurality of control algorithms”
  • “determine optimum control algorithms”

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In W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc. v. C.R. Bard, Inc. and Bard Peripheral Vascular, Inc., C.A. No. 11-515-LPS-CJB (D. Del. Aug. 8, 2014), Magistrate Judge Christopher J. Burke recently issued a Report and Recommendation construing six disputed terms of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,700,285 and 5,735,892, both entitled “Intraluminal Stent Graft.”

The Court construed the following terms:

“tubular, diametrically adjustable stent”/”diametrically adjustable stent”

“wall”

“multiplicity of openings”

“covering”

“affixed”/”affixing” and “the first tubular covering of porous expanded polytetrafluoroethylene is affixed to the second tubular covering of porous expanded polytetrafluoroethylene film through openings through the wall of the stent”

“collapsed diameter”/”enlarged diameter”

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Judge Richard Andrews recently issued his construction of several disputed claim terms of patents related to capturing images on mobile devices for document management, particularly processing checks. Mitek Sys., Inc. v. TIS America Inc., et al., C.A. No. 12-1208-RGS, Memo. Op. at 1 (D. Del. Aug. 6, 2014). Judge Andrews construed the following disputed terms:
- “smaller color image”
- “configured”
- “adapted to be recognized by at least one financial processing system”
- “entering the extracted financial content from identified the at least one field into a new financial document with at least one corresponding field”

Interestingly, with respect to the last term, which defendants asserted was insolubly ambiguous, Judge Andrews explained that “[t]he dispute here is that the term recites ‘from identified the,’ rather than ‘from the identified.’ Claim 9, on which claim 10 depends recites ‘from the identified.’ Clearly this term is a typo. It is within my power to correct it, and I therefore do so.” Id. at 4 (citing Novo Industries, L.P. v. Micro Molds Corp., 350 F.3d 1348 (Fed. Cir. 2003)).

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In Technology Innovations Associates v. Google, Inc., C.A. No. 13-0355-LPS (D. Del. Aug. 7, 2014), Chief Judge Leonard P. Stark recently construed a single term of the patents-in-suit – “sticky path” – having previously granted defendant’s request for early construction of this term.  The Court had agreed that this “proposed early, limited claim construction process would likely facilitate the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of this action, even if the Court’s construction did not prove to be case dispositive.”  Id. at 1.  The Court adopted the plaintiff’s proposed construction, although the issue was a “close call.”  Id. at 6.

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Judge Gregory M. Sleet recently construed the following terms of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,587,508; 7,590,752; 7,779,138; 8,090,862; 8,099,513; and 8,266,315.  NonEnd Inventions N.V. v. Spotify USA Inc., C.A. Nos. 12-1041-GMS and 13-389-GMS (D. Del. Aug. 1, 2014).

“streaming (n.)”

“streaming (adj.)”

“streamed”

“network”

“peer-to-peer network”

“network of media players”

“peer system”

“a system for distributing media content”

“peer node”

“consumer node”

“device”

“production node”

“central node”

“autonomously”

“first communication channel”

“second communication channel”

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Judge Sue L. Robinson recently issued a claim construction order in a case alleging infringement of four data storage device patents.  Round Rock Research, LLC v. Sandisk Corp., Civ. No. 12-569-SLR (D. Del. July 21, 2014).  The following claim terms were construed:

  • “control means for generating control signals for controlling operations of the system”
  • “default parameter means coupled to the data storage unit for outputting default parameter data rather than the control parameter data in response to a first control signal from the control means”
  • “control data word”
  • “memory block”
  • “an unused control address”
  • “y-cycles” / “y-clock cycles”
  • “determining usage associated with a logical address” / “to determine usage data of a logical address”

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In a recent memorandum order, Judge Sue L. Robinson construed claim terms in U.S. Patent No. 5,612,527, entitled “Discount offer redemption system and method.”  Motivation Innovations LLC v. Ulta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc., Civ. No. 11-615-SLR (D. Del. July 22, 2014).  The following terms were construed:

  • “[A] circulation medium”
  • “[A]ssociating said identification code with data identifying items which are to be offered at a discount” / “associating said identification code means . . . with data identifying items to be offered at a discount”
  • “[A]ssociating said identification code means with the addressee of the circulation medium and with data identifying items to be offered at a discount”
  • “[A]ddressable by said identification code”
  • “[M]eans for reading said identification code provided with said circulation medium”
  • “[U]sing said code reading means to read the identification code indicia means and to create a data file”
  • “[A]ny discount corresponding to an item listed in said data is deducted from the price of the item in the tabulation”
  • “[P]roviding as part of said identification code identification indicia means on said medium for identifying the addressee of said medium”
  • “[T]he user”
  • “[U]sing each data file . . . as a means to study buying habits of the recipient of the medium”
  • “[M]eans associated with said code reading means for tabulating sales of items so that any discount corresponding to an item listed in said data is deducted from the price of the item in the tabulation”
  • “[M]eans for tabulating items”
  • “[M]eans for tabulating items and for recording the items purchased by the bearer of the circulation medium”
  • “[M]eans for calculating the at least one discount on the item offered at discount by said identification mode”

The parties agreed upon the construction of the following terms:

  • “[U]sing said means for tabulating items . . . to cause a discount to be debited against the purchased item”
  • “[T]he bearer of the circulation medium”

Finally, the Court denied the defendants’ motion to strike the plaintiff’s late asserted claim construction positions, noting that it “is ironic that defendant now seeks to prevent plaintiff from” modifying its claim construction positions when defendants’ submission “expressly stated that it ‘reserve[d] the right to modify the foregoing as discovery is ongoing, and in response to any of [p]laintiff’s proposed terms for construction or proposed constructions.”

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In September 2012, plaintiff Joao Bock Transaction Systems filed suit against Jack Henry & Associates for infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,096,003, which relates to security for financial transactions and wireless communication device authorization. Following briefing and oral argument, Judge Robinson issued her construction of several disputed claim terms:
- “At least one of . . . and”
- “Communication device”
- “Processes”
- “Processing”
- “Receiver”
- “Signal”
- “Transmitter”
- “Banking Transaction”
- “Central Transaction Processing Computer”
- “Electronic mail message”
- “Limitation”
- “Restriction”
- “Network computer”
- “Processing device”
- “Real time”
- “Transaction”
- “Transaction security apparatus”
- “Transmit(s)”
- “Transmitted”
- “Communication device associated with an individual account holder”
- “Containing information for authorizing or disallowing the transaction”
- “Determines whether the banking transaction is allowed or disallowed”
- “Information regarding a banking transaction”
- “Internet transaction”
- “Automated teller machine account”
- “[A] transmitter, wherein the transmitter transmits a second signal to the communication device or to a second communication device associated with the individual account holder, wherein the second signal contains information regarding the banking transaction”
- “[A] transmitter, wherein the transmitter transmits a periodic transaction record to the communication device or to a second communication device associated with the individual account holder, wherein the periodic transaction record shows a transaction or transactions on the checking account for a time period, wherein the periodic transaction record is transmitted to the communication device or to the second communication device at least one of automatically and in response to a request for the periodic transaction record”
- “[A] transmitter, wherein the transmitter transmits a second signal to the communication device or to a second communication device associated with the individual account holder, wherein the second signal contains information regarding the transaction”
Joao Bock Transaction Systems, LLC v. Jack Henry & Associates, Inc., C.A. No. 12-1138-SLR, Memo. Order at 5-20 (D. Del. June 30, 2014).

Important to her construction of these terms, Judge Robinson explained that the patentees “assert that the ‘003 patent should be recognized as having a priority date of August 8, 1996, the earliest filing date of its related patents, thus also establishing the temporal perspective for those of skill in the art. Without addressing in this order the question of whether the definitions constitute new matter and, therefore, support a later priority date, the court will address the extent to which, if at all, the court is bound by the multiple definitions the patentees choose to give certain claim language during the claim amendment process that took place in the PTO from October 2004 to September 2005. The definitions were not included in the specification, were not the subject of any commentary by the examiner, were made years after the earliest priority date, and were added for litigation purposes, that is, to differentiate the ‘003 patent from a related patent. Most significantly, the definitions added through the auspices of 37 C.F.R. 1.115 are worded in the disjunctive and, rather than narrowing the scope of the claim language or adding clarity to such, instead obscure the scope of the claims, thus confounding the public notice requirement of§ 112, ¶ 2. Given that the definitions are not ‘clearly stated,’ see Vitronics, 90 F.3d at 1582, the court rejects plaintiff’s argument that the court is obligated to embrace them for purposes of the claim construction exercise.” Id. at 4-5.

Because Judge Robinson’s constructions resulted in a narrower claim scope of the patent-in-suit than the scope of a related patent that had been the subject of a separate suit, she found that “the issue of invalidity common to each action [was not] substantially identical” and denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment of invalidity based on collateral estoppel. Id. at 20 n.34.

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