Articles Posted in D. Del. Claim Construction Decisions

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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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In Hand Held Products, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 12-768-RGA-MPT (D. Del. June 24, 2014), Magistrate Judge Mary Pat Thynge construed several terms of U.S. Patent No. 6,015,088, entitled “Decoding of Real Time Video Imaging.”  For a number of the disputed claims, the Court analyzed defendants’ arguments for indefiniteness under the standard recently revised by the Supreme Court in Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc., No. 13-369, 2014 WL 2440536 (U.S. June 2, 2014) and concluded that four means-plus-function terms (“processing means for processing an imaged target,” “display means for continually displaying a real-time image of said target from said imaging and processing means,” “image capture means for selectively capturing at least one image displayed by said display means,” and “output means for outputting the decoded bar-coded information to said display means”) did not adequately disclose a structure and thus were indefinite.  The Report and Recommendation also addressed whether the steps of the patent’s method claims have to be performed in the recited order, concluding that parts did and parts did not. See id. at 10-13.

The Court construed the following terms:

“target”

“having at least one of optically readable and bar coded information contained thereupon”; “having at least one of optically readable and bar coded information contained therein”

“continually displaying a real time image of said target”

“selectively capturing and storing an instantaneous image of said target into the memory of a computer”; “selectively capturing . . . an instantaneous image”; “selectively capturing at least one image displayed by said display means”

“storing”

“bar-coded information”; “bar-code readable information”

“decoding bar-code information if bar-code readable information is contained on said instantaneous stored image”

“imaging means for imaging a target of interest, said target having at least one of optically readable and bar-coded information contained therein”

“target . . . therein”

“scanning means for scanning said at least one captured image and for determining the presence of bar-coded information in the field of view of said at least one captured image”

“decoding means for decoding any bar-coded information detected by said scanning means”

“discrimination means for discriminating the type of bar-coded information present in said at least one captured image”

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In SecureBuy, LLC v. CardinalCommerce Corporation, C.A. No. 13-1792-LPS (D. Del.  June 16, 2014), Judge Leonard P. Stark construed the following disputed claim terms of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,140,429; 7,051,002; and 7,693,783:

-“authentication program”

-“authentication protocol”

-“authentication determination”

-“connection layer”

-“distribution layer”

-“plug-in layer”

-“means for determining from the payment information received at the universal platform server, for each commercial transaction, which of the different authentication protocols is prescribed by the payment network for the type of payment instrument identified in the payment information”

-“means for determining from the payment information received at the server which of the
different authentication protocols is prescribed for the type of payment option identified in the payment information”

-“means for selecting, in accordance with the determination of step (b), a particular authentication protocol from the plurality of different authentication protocols supported by the universal platform server”

-“means for selecting, in accordance with the determination made by the means for determining, a particular authentication protocol from the plurality of different authentication protocols supported by the server”

-“Universal platform server”

-”payment option,” “payment instrument,” and “payment information”

-”first party,” “second party,” “third party,” and “fourth party”

-”Obtaining an authentication determination for the transaction in accordance with the selected protocol,” “obtaining an authentication determination from a fourth party in accordance with the authentication protocol,” and “obtain an authentication determination in accordance with its associated authentication protocol.”

-“means for obtaining an authentication determination for the commercial transaction in accordance with the selected authentication protocol, including formatting messages and routing the formatted
messages over the communications network in accordance with one or more mandates of the selected authentication protocol.”

-“means for obtaining an authentication determination for the commercial transaction in accordance with the selected authentication protocol, including formatting messages and routing the formatted messages”

-“means for returning the obtained authentication determination to the first party’s server”

- “means for returning the obtained authentication over the communications network to a designated entity”

- “Plug-in/Plug-in component”

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Judge Andrews has issued his memorandum opinion construing disputed terms of four patents related to logic and memory circuits for integration into high density integrated circuit chips. In 2011, the plaintiffs, HSM Portfolio and Technology Properties Limited, filed an infringement suit against eighteen defendants, of which eight remain in the case. After oral argument on June 5, Judge Andrews issued his construction of the following terms on June 17:
- “the N-channel field effect transistor in each inverter stage having a channel width which is less than a [predetermined factor] times the width of the N-channel of the immediately preceding inverter stage”
- “wherein the N-channel field effect transistor in the first inverter stage has a channel width which is less than said [predetermined factor] times the width of the at least one N-channel field effect transistor in the logic gate”
- “[the P-channel field effect transistor in each inverter stage having a channel which is wider than the channel of the corresponding N-channel field effect transistor of each inverter stage by ƞ], the ratio of electron mobility in the N-channel field effect transistors to hole mobility in the P-channel field effect transistors”
- “[A Field Effect Transistor (PET) Differential Latching Inverter (DLI) circuit] for sensing signals on first and second bit lines of a memory”
- “first and second bit lines of a memory”
- “first bit line” / “second bit line”
- “an inverter transfer function … which is identical when said first and second inverters turn on and turn off”
- “the outputs of said first and second complementary FET inverters producing output signals for said DLI circuit”
- “for receiving [a logic input signal/a clock input signal]”
- “A field effect transistor (FET) logic circuit comprising”
- “the product of the carrier mobility and the ratio of channel width to length of the inverter FET of said first conductivity type being [substantially greater than] the product of the carrier mobility and the ratio of channel width to length of the inverter FET of said second conductivity type”
- “for receiving [logic input signals]”
HSM Portfolio LLC, et al. v. Fujitsu Limited, et al., C.A. No. 11-770-RGA, Memo. Op. at 1-15 (D. Del. June 17, 2014).

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In two related actions, Interdigital Communications, Inc., et al. v. ZTE Corp., et al., C.A. No. 13-009-RGA; Interdigital Communications, Inc., et al. v. Nokia Corp., et al., C.A. No. 13-0010-RGA (D. Del. May 29, 2014), Judge Richard G. Andrews recently construed a disputed term within U.S. Patent No. 7,286,847. This Order is a continuation of the Court’s prior claim construction opinion in these cases; following that opinion, the parties requested construction of “circuit” and “[re-]synchroniz[ed/ing] to the/a pilot signal.”
The Court construed “circuit,” but reserved judgment on “[re-]synchroniz[ed/ing] to the/a pilot signal.”

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In Pragmatus AV, LLC v. Yahoo! Inc., C.A. No. 11-902-LPS-CJB (D. Del. May 15, 2014), Magistrate Judge Christopher J. Burke issued a Report and Recommendation relating to the construction of sixteen disputed terms across five patents: U.S. Patent Nos. 5,689,641; 6,237,025; 6,351,762; 5,854,893; 7,185,054; and 5,896,500. The patents in suit “relate to the field of distributed multimedia collaboration. Specifically, the Asserted Patents disclose systems and methods for utilizing hardware, software and communications technologies ‘to produce a multimedia collaboration system that greatly facilitates distributed collaboration, in part by replicating the benefits of face-to-face collaboration.’” Id. at 2.

Judge Burke construed the following terms:

“a first and second set of potential participants”
“active states” / “active teleconference”
“addresses of video display devices”
“call handle”
“conducting”
“controlling communications connections”
“displayed in two sets”
“initiate” /“initiating”
“managing a video conference”
“potential participants”
“quick dial list”
“selecting” /“selected”
“teleconference”
“on hold”/“hold state”
“tracking the audio and video capabilities associated with each workstation”
“video display device”

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Chief Judge Sleet recently issued an order construing several disputed terms of pharmaceutical patents directed to metered-dose inhalers. Judge Sleet construed the following terms of the patents, which are listed in the Orange Book for Teva’s Proair HFA product:

- “no surfactant”
- “pharmaceutical suspension aerosol formulation”
- “substantially free of surfactant”
- “substantially completely insoluble”
- “in the amount of 11.4% w/w”
- “in the amount of 0.4% w/w”
- “in the amount of 88.2% w/w”
- “actuator”
- “a rotary gear…comprising a wheel mounted on a spindle which wheel having a plurality of ratchet teeth around its periphery”
- “a driver for driving said rotary gear in step-wise fashion in response to displacement of the actuator”
- “a pawl to prevent reverse rotation of the rotary gear… wherein the pawl comprises at least two ratchet teeth each for engaging with the ratchet teeth of the wheel to prevent reverse rotation of the rotary gear, the at least two ratchet teeth being radially spaced such that one of the at least two ratchet teeth of the pawl engages with the ratchet teeth of the wheel following each step of the step-wise rotary motion of the rotary gear”
- “display coupled to the rotary gear … having a visible array of incrementing integers on a surface thereof indexable by a single integer in response to each step of the step-wise rotary motion of the rotary gear”
- “the pawl”
Teva Branded Pharmaceutical Products R&D, Inc., et al. v. Perrigo Pharmaceuticals Co., et al., C.A. No. 12-1101-GMS, Order at 1-18 (D. Del. May 12, 2014).

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Last week, a District of Delaware jury unanimously found in favor of Intellectual Ventures in its patent infringement suit against Canon. Intellectual Ventures asserted two patents related to semiconductor image sensors against various Canon digital cameras and video-cameras. The jury found that both patents were valid in the face of obviousness challenges and challenges to inventorship. The jury also found one of the two patents infringed by three Canon products. Intellectual Ventures I LLC, et al. v. Canon Inc., et al., C.A. No. 11-792-SLR, Verdict Sheet at 2-3 (D. Del. May 2, 2014).

Separately from these jury determinations, Judge Robinson entered an order construing the term “digital image magnification in a graphical user interface” as used in a third patent-in-suit, which was not a subject of the jury verdict. Her Honor explained that a claim construction disputed had arisen “as the parties’ experts dispute the meaning of ‘digital image magnification,’ the proper scope of which must be determined before presentation to a jury.” Judge Robinson adopted the construction “expanding image data – which may be represented in the form of pixels, a page description language, or any other form – on the screen of a digital device.” Intellectual Ventures I LLC, et al. v. Canon Inc., et al., C.A. No. 11-792-SLR, Memo. Or. at 1-2 (D. Del. May 5, 2014).

UPDATE:

A few days later, the same District of Delaware jury has found in favor of Canon on two other patents. The jury returned a verdict last Friday finding that various Canon had not induced infringement by selling various cameras that included certain features. The jury also found, however, that the two patents at issue were not invalid for anticipation or obviousness. Intellectual Ventures I LLC, et al. v. Canon Inc., et al., C.A. No. 11-792-SLR, Verdict Sheet at 2-4 (D. Del. May 9, 2014).

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In Interdigital Communications, Inc. et al. v. ZTE Corp., et al., C.A. No. 13-009-RGA and Interdigital Communications, Inc. et al. v. Nokia Corp., et al., C.A. No. 13-010-RGA (D. Del. Apr. 22, 2014), Judge Richard G. Andrews recently construed disputed terms found in U.S. Patent Nos. 7,190,966; 7,286,847; 7,941,151; and 8,380,244:

“code”
“generated using [a same/a portion of a/a remainder of the] code”
“successively transmits signals; successively transmitted signals”
“radio resources”
“[a/the] same physical downlink control channel”
“utilizing the radio resources for the uplink shared channel or the downlink shared
Channel.” This term appeared in claim 1 and 16 of the ‘151 patent. The Court held that claim 16 was invalid as indefinite: “the Plaintiffs ask the Court to rewrite a method step in an apparatus claim to preserve its validity. The Court finds that this correction is subject to reasonable debate and therefore will not redraft the claim.” Id. 8. The Court did construe this term as used in claim 1 of the same patent. Id. at 7-8.

“channel assignment information”
“configured to communicate with an IEEE 802.11 wireless local area network”
“maintain a communication session with the cellular wireless network in an absence of
the plurality of assigned physical channels”
“assigned physical channels,” “release, ” “allocate,” and “deallocate”

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