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Vehicle Interface Technologies, LLC v. Ferrari North America, Inc.

United States District Court, Third Circuit

January 13, 2014

VEHICLE INTERFACE TECHNOLOGIES, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
FERRARI NORTH AMERICA, INC., Defendant. VEHICLE INTERFACE TECHNOLOGIES, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
FORD MOTOR COMPANY, LLC, Defendant. VEHICLE INTERFACE TECHNOLOGIES, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
JAGUAR LAND ROVER NORTH AMERICA, LLC. Defendant. VEHICLE INTERFACE TECHNOLOGIES, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
PORSCHE CARS NORTH AMERICA, INC., Defendant.

Brian E. Farnan, Esq., FARNAN LLP, Wilmington, DE; Michael J. Farnan, Esq., FARNAN LLP, Wilmington, DE; Alexander CD. Giza, Esq. (argued), RUSS AUGUST & KABAT PLC, Los Angeles, CA; J. Power Hely VI, Esq. (argued), RUSS AUGUST & KABAT PLC, Los Angeles, CA. Attorneys for Plaintiff Vehicle Interface Technologies, LLC.

Jason James Rawnsley, Esq., RICHARDS, LAYTON & FINGER, P.A., Wilmington, DE; Ed Haug, Esq. (argued), FROMMER LAWRENCE & HAUG LLP, New York, NY; Eugene LeDonne, Esq., FROMMER LAWRENCE & HAUG LLP, New York, NY; Christopher Gosselin, Esq., FROMMER LAWRENCE & HAUG LLP, Washington, DC. Attorneys for Defendants Ferrari North America, Inc. and Porsche Cars North America, Inc.

Mary Matterer, Esq., MORRIS JAMES LLP, Wilmington, DE; Thomas A. Lewry, Esq. (argued), BROOKS KUSHMAN P.C., Detroit, MI; Rebecca J. Cantor, Esq. (argued), BROOKS KUSHMAN P.C., Detroit, MI. Attorneys for Defendant Ford Motor Company, LLC.

John W. Shaw, Esq., SHAW KELLER LLP, Wilmington, DE; Clement Naples, Esq., LATHAM & WATKINS LLP, New York, NY; Cassius K. Sims, Esq., LATHAM & WATKINS LLP, New York, NY. Attorneys for Defendant Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

Pending before this Court is the issue of claim construction of one disputed term found in U.S. Patent No. 6, 842, 677 ('"677 patent").

I. BACKGROUND

On October 5, 2012, Vehicle Interface Technologies, LLC ("Plaintiff) filed separate patent infringement actions against Ferrari North America, Inc, Ford Motor Company, LLC, Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC, and Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (collectively, the "Defendants"). (Civil Action Nos. 12-1283 to 12-1286[1] at D.I. 1). The Court has considered the Parties' Joint Claim Construction Brief (D.I. 39), appendix (D.I. 40), and oral argument on January 3, 2014. (D.I. 48).

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 banc) (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.'" SoftView 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 banc), 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'lTrade Comm'n, 505 ...


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