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Inventio AG v. Thyssenkrupp Elevator Americas Corp.

United States District Court, Third Circuit

January 14, 2014

INVENTIO AG, Plaintiff,

Memorandum Opinion Michael Flynn, Esq., Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP, Wilmington, DE; Pierre R. Yanney, Esq., Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, New York, NY, Attorneys for the Plaintiff.

James M. Lennon, Esq., Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, Wilmington, DE; David E. Schmit, Esq., Frost Brown Todd LLC, Cincinnati, OH, Attorneys for the Defendants.


Pending before this Court is the issue of claim construction of various disputed terms found in U.S. Patents Nos. 6, 935, 465 and 6, 892, 861.


The Court sua sponte ordered the parties on November 18, 2013 to reargue various claim terms as a result of the Court becoming more familiar with the technology at issue in this case. The Court previously construed the claim terms on June 14, 2010. (D.I. 135). Much of the arguments presented to the Court simply rehash the previous arguments, and therefore will not be redundantly addressed in this opinion.

On November 21, 2008, Inventio AG ("Plaintiff) filed this patent infringement action. (D.I. 1). The Defendants are ThyssenKrupp Elevator Corporation, ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas Corporation, and ThyssenKrupp Elevator Manufacturing Incorporated ("Defendants"). The Patent-in-suits are U.S. Patents Nos. 6, 935, 465 and 6, 892, 861 ("the '465 Patent" and "the "861 Patent" respectively).

The Court has considered the Parties' letters. (D.I. 500 and 501).


"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.'" Soft View LLC v. Apple Inc., 2013 WL4758195 (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), affd, 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.

"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).

Finally, the Court is allowed to construe claims "during various phases of litigation" and not solely following a Markman Hearing. Conoco, Inc. v. Energy & Envtl. Int'l, L.C, 460 F.3d 1349, 1359 (Fed. Cir. 2006). The Federal Circuit has held that a district court "may engage in rolling claim construction, in which the court revisits and alters its interpretation of the claim terms as its understanding of the technology evolves." Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).


A. "elevator control"

1. Plaintiff's proposed construction: "an existing device that controls the operation of an elevator before modernization, and is reused (with or ...

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