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Volcano Corporation v. St. Jude Medical

United States District Court, Third Circuit

January 24, 2014

VOLCANO CORPORATION, Plaintiff and Counterclaim Defendant,
v.
ST. JUDE MEDICAL, CARDIOVASCULAR AND ABLATION TECHNOLOGIES DIVISION, INC., ST. JUDE MEDICAL, CARDIOLOGY DIVISION, INC., ST. JUDE MEDICAL, U.S. DIVISION, ST. JUDE MEDICAL S.C., INC., and ST. JUDE MEDICAL SYSTEMS AB, Defendants and Counterclaim Plaintiffs.

Thomas Lee Halkowski, Esq., FISH & RICHARDSON, P.C., Wilmington, DE; Frank E. Scherkenbach, Esq. (argued), FISH & RICHARDSON, P.C., Boston, MA; Todd G. Miller, Esq., FISH & RICHARDSON, P.C, San Diego, CA; Michael M. Rosen, Esq., FISH & RICHARDSON, P.C, San Diego, CA; Ryan O'Connor, Esq., FISH & RICHARDSON, P.C, San Diego, CA; Christina Brown-Marshall, Esq. (argued), FISH & RICHARDSON, P.C., Redwood City, CA, Attorneys for Plaintiff and Counterclaim Defendant Volcano Corporation.

Steven J. Fineman, Esq., RICHARDS, LAYTON & FINGER, P.A., Wilmington, DE; John Allcock, Esq. (argued), DLA PIPER LLP, New York, NY; Stuart Pollack, Esq. (argued), DLA PIPER LLP, New York, NY; Nicholas F. Aldrich, Jr., Esq., DLA PIPER LLP, New York, NY; Marc E. Miller, Esq., DLA PIPER LLP, New York, NY, Attorneys for Defendants and Counterclaim Plaintiffs St. Jude Medical, Cardiovascular and Ablation Technologies Division, Inc., St. Jude Medical, Cardiology Division, Inc., St. Jude Medical, U.S. Division, St. Jude Medical S.C., Inc. and St. Jude Medical Systems AB.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

RICHARD G. ANDREWS, District Judge.

Pending before this Court is the issue of claim construction of one disputed term found in U.S. Patent Nos. 8, 419, 647 ("'647 patent") and 8, 419, 648 ("'648 patent").[1]

I. BACKGROUND

On April 16, 2013, Volcano filed a patent infringement action against St. Jude Medical, Cardiovascular and Ablation Technologies Division, Inc., St. Jude Medical, Cardiology Division, Inc., St. Jude Medical, U.S. Division, St. Jude Medical S.C., Inc. and St. Jude Medical Systems AB. (D.I. 1). St. Jude convinced the Court that construction of a single term could be dispositive of Volcano's literal infringement case (D.I. 16 at 7-10), and the Court, relying on this representation, granted an early claim construction hearing for that lone term. (D.I. 27). The Court has considered the Parties' Joint Claim Construction Brief (D.I. 51), appendix (D.I. 52), and oral argument on November 18, 2013. (D.I. 53).

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, at *1 (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'l Trade Comm'n, 505 F.3d 1351, 1358 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

III. CONSTRUCTION OF DISPUTED TERMS

A. U.S. Patent Nos. 8, 419, 647 & ...


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