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Chalumeau Power Systems LLC v. Alcatel-Lucent Usa Inc.

United States District Court, Third Circuit

October 30, 2013

Chalumeau Power Systems LLC, Plaintiff;
v.
Alcatel-Lucent, Alcatel-Lucent USA Inc., and Alcatel-Lucent Holdings Inc., Defendants.

Brian E. Farnan, Esq., Farnan LLP, Wilmington, DE; James A. Jorgensen, Esq., (argued), Lee, Jorgensen, Pyle & Kewalramani, P.C., Houston, TX, attorneys for Plaintiff.

Jack B. Blumenfeld, Esq., Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP, Wilmington, DE; J. Anthony Downs, Esq., Goodwin Procter LLP, Boston, MA; Lana S. Shiferman, Esq. (argued), Goodwin Procter LLP, Boston, MA; Robert Frederickson III, Esq., Goodwin Procter LLP, Boston, MA, attorneys for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

RICHARD G. ANDREWS, District Judge.

Pending before this Court is the issue of claim construction of various disputed terms found in U.S. Patent No. 5, 991, 885.

I. BACKGROUND

On November 29, 2011 Chalumeau Power Systems LLC ("Plaintiff") filed a patent infringement action (D.I. 1) against Alcatel-Lucent, Alcatel-Lucent USA Inc., and Alcatel-Lucent Holdings Inc. On September 12, 2012 the Court granted defendant Alcatel-Lucent's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. (D.I. 58). The Court has considered the Parties' Joint Claim Construction Brief. (D.I. 93). The Court held oral argument on the disputed claim terms on September 20, 2013.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

"It is a bedrock principle of patent law that the claims of a patent define the invention to which the patentee is entitled the right to exclude." Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303, 1312 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en bane) (internal quotation marks omitted). "[T]here is no magic formula or catechism for conducting claim construction.' Instead, the court is free to attach the appropriate weight to appropriate sources in light of the statutes and policies that inform patent law.'" SofiView LLC v. Apple Inc., 2013 WL 4758195 (D. Del. Sept. 4, 2013) (quoting Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1324). When construing patent claims, a matter of law, a court considers the literal language of the claim, the patent specification, and the prosecution history. Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., 52 F.3d 967, 977-80 (Fed. Cir. 1995) (en bane), aff'd, 517 U.S. 370 (1996). Of these sources, "the specification is always highly relevant to the claim construction analysis. Usually, it is dispositive; it is the single best guide to the meaning of a disputed term." Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1315 (internal quotations and citations omitted).

Furthermore, "the words of a claim are generally given their ordinary and customary meaning... [which is] the meaning that the term would have to a person of ordinary skill in the art in question at the time of the invention, i.e., as of the effective filing date of the patent application." Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1312-13 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). "[T]he ordinary meaning of a claim term is its meaning to [an] ordinary artisan after reading the entire patent." Id. at 1321 (internal quotation marks omitted). "In some cases, the ordinary meaning of claim language as understood by a person of skill in the art may be readily apparent even to lay judges, and claim construction in such cases involves little more than the application of the widely accepted meaning of commonly understood words." Id. at 1314. (internal citations omitted).

A court may consider extrinsic evidence, which "consists of all evidence external to the patent and prosecution history, including expert and inventor testimony, dictionaries, and learned treatises, " in order to assist the court in understanding the underlying technology, the meaning of terms to one skilled in the art and how the invention works. Id. at 1317-19 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). However, extrinsic evidence is less reliable and less useful in claim construction than the patent and its prosecution history. Id.

Finally, "[a] claim construction is persuasive, not because it follows a certain rule, but because it defines terms in the context of the whole patent." Renishaw PLC v. Marposs Societa' per Azioni, 158 F.3d 1243, 1250 (Fed. Cir. 1998). It follows that "a claim interpretation that would exclude the inventor's device is rarely the correct interpretation." Osram GmbH v. Int'l Trade Comm'n, 505 F.3d 1351, 1358 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

III. CONSTRUCTION OF DISPUTED TERMS

A. "user interface connector"

1. Plaintiff's proposed construction: "a multi-pin connector through which both data and electrical power can be transmitted."
2. Defendants' proposed construction: "connector that is separate from the network hub for connecting to remote devices."[1]
3. Court's Construction: "connector that is separate from the network hub."

The Plaintiff argues that its construction is consistent with the specification and the capabilities of the user interface connector. (D.I. 93 at 6). Defendants assert that the term should be construed according to its plain meaning and the patent's use of the term. (D.I. 93 at 9). Furthermore, the Defendants point out that Plaintiffs proposed construction does not distinguish "user ...


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