United States District Court, D. Delaware
RICHARD G. ANDREWS, District Judge.
Before the Court is a dispute regarding the construction of several claim terms found in U.S. Patent No. 6, 128, 617. These issues have been fully briefed. (D.I. 672, 700, 727, 739, 790, 791, 792, 799, 800). This is a continuation of the Court's October 17, 2013 Markman Opinion. (D.I. 718).
A. " database "
1. Plaintiff's proposed construction: ordinary meaning, or in the alternative "an organized collection of information"
2. Defendants' proposed construction: "a collection of multiple data records"
3. Court's Construction: "a collection of multiple data records"
The Plaintiff argues that the phrase should not be construed because the term's meaning "is apparent on its face." (D.I. 672 at 58). Further, the Plaintiff argues that "there is nothing in the intrinsic record that reflects an intent to deviate from the plain meaning of the term." Id. The Defendants argue that the Patent's specification limits the term to "multiple data records that each includes data in one or more of the fields." Id. at 60 (citing 617 Patent 5:66-6:13). Furthermore, the Defendants cite various technical dictionaries in support of their proposed claim construction. Id. The Defendants further argue that the construction of the term will clarify its meaning and assist the jury. Id. at 59. The Court agrees with the Defendants.
It is clear that there is an ongoing dispute as to the scope of term "database." ( See D.I. 727, 739, 790, 791). Despite this dispute, the Plaintiff maintains "that there is no discernible difference between the constructions proposed by the Adobe Customer Defendants and the plain and ordinary meaning of those terms." (D.I. 790 at 2). The Court is persuaded by the Patent's own exemplary definition of the term database, within the Patent's specification, along with the extrinsic sources cited by the Defendants. The Court also notes the Plaintiff's proposal is a non-starter; an "organized collection of information" would include most non-fiction books.
B. "database query"
1. Plaintiff's construction: ordinary meaning, or in the alternative "an instruction or set of instructions that initiates the process of extracting data from a database"
2. Defendants' construction: "a request to a database for a record."
3. Court's construction: "a request to extract data from a database"
The Plaintiff contends that no construction is necessary, as the term "is readily understood by a person of ordinary skill in the art." (D.I. 672 at 61). Furthermore, the Plaintiff contends that the Defendants' proposed construction places undue emphasis on the term "record." Id. The Defendants argue that "[c]ontemporaneous technical dictionaries confirm that a query' is a request to a database." Id. at 62. Furthermore, the Defendants argue that the Plaintiff's proposed alternative construction would broaden the scope of the Patent to include initial steps taken by a user that do not directly affect the patented invention. Id. at 62, 63. The Defendants additionally argue that the preamble and the specification limits the term to extracting records. Id. at 63.
While the Plaintiff argues that the phrase should not be construed, as experts would agree as to its plain and ordinary meaning, the differing proposed constructions provided by the parties indicate the existence of a dispute regarding the phrase's scope. Here, the Court is persuaded that the summary of the invention ('617 patent 2:33-44), along with the technical dictionaries, make it evident that the Defendants are correct that the disputed phrase refers to a "request" to a database and not the initial steps of that request. However, the Court is not persuaded that a request is limited to retrieving a record. To support the argument that a request must retrieve a record, the Defendants cite to the preamble of the invention, which states, "A method of retrieving information from a database record having plural fields...." The Defendants maintain that this statement means that records must be ...