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Intellectual Ventures I, LLC v. Motorola Mobility, LLC

United States District Court, D. Delaware

October 28, 2014


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Brian E. Farnan, Esquire, of Farnan LLP, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Plaintiff. Of Margaret Elizabeth Day, Esquire, David L. Alberti, Esquire, Clayton Thompson, Esquire, Marc C. Belloli, Esquire, Yakov Zolotorev, Esquire, and Nikolas Bohl, Esquire of Feinberg Day Alberti & Thompson, LLP.

Jack B. Blumenfeld, Esquire and Stephen J. Kraftschik, Esquire of Morris, Nichols, Arsht, & Tunnel, LLP, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendant. Of William H. Boice, Esquire, Candice Decaire, Esquire, D. Clay Holloway, Esquire, and Steven Moore, Esquire of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.

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Sue L. Robinson, District Judge.


Plaintiff Intellectual Ventures I, LLC (" IV I" ) and Intellectual Ventures II, LLC (" IV II" ) (collectively " IV" ) brought this patent infringement action against defendant Motorola Mobility, Inc. (" Motorola" ) on October 6, 2011, alleging infringement of six patents: U.S. Patent Nos. 7,810,144 (" the '144 patent" ), 6,412,953 (" the '953 patent" ), 7,409,450 (" the '450 patent" ), 7,120,462 (" the '462 patent" ), 6,557,054 (" the '054 patent" ),

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and 6,658,464 (" the '464 patent" ). (D.I. 1) Motorola answered and asserted affirmative defenses of, inter alia, failure to state a claim, non-infringement, invalidity, prosecution history estoppel, the equitable doctrines of waiver, acquiescence, laches and unclean hands, and statutory time limitation on damages. (D.I. 10) Motorola also asserted counterclaims for non-infringement and invalidity. Id.

On August 20, 2013, Motorola filed a motion for summary judgment of invalidity (D.I. 230), and on September 10, 2013, Motorola filed a motion for summary judgment of non-infringement (D.I. 252). In a memorandum opinion and order dated January 2, 2014, the court issued its claim construction and resolved several summary judgment motions, finding no infringement of claim 26 of the '144 patent and invalidity of claim 1 of the '953 patent based on the asserted prior art. (D.I. 284) On January 8, 2014, the court limited trial to those issues related to the '462, '054 and '464 patents. (D.I. 288)

A nine-day jury trial was held on January 24 - February 4, 2014. The trial resulted in a hung jury and a mistrial was declared. Before the court is Motorola's renewed Rule 50 motion for judgment as a matter of law (" JMOL" ) on invalidity and non-infringement. (D.I. 320) The court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1338.


A. The Parties

IV I and IV II are limited liability companies organized and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware, with their principal place of business in Bellevue, Washington. (D.I. 1 at ¶ ¶ 1-2) IV I owns the '144, '450, '054, and '464 patents. ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 10, 14, 18, 20) IV II is the exclusive licensee of the '953 patent and owns the '462 patent. ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 12,16)

Motorola is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware, with its principal place of business in Libertyville, Illinois. ( Id. at ¶ 3) It makes, manufactures, and/or sells the accused products. ( Id. at ¶ 28)

B. The Technology At Issue

The '462, '054 and '464 patents relate to a variety of technologies in information processing, computing and mobile phones. The '462 patent involves portable processor devices that provide communication and computing functionality. The '054 patent relates to computer-implemented methods for distributing software. The '464 patent describes software products for transferring data over a network. The court discusses each patent in more detail infra.


Judgment as a matter of law is proper " [i]f a party has been fully heard on an issue during a jury trial and the court finds that a reasonable jury would not have a legally sufficient evidentiary basis to find for the party on that issue." Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a). " A jury's inability to reach a verdict does not necessarily preclude a judgment as a matter of law." Shum v. Intel Corp., 633 F.3d 1067, 1076 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (citations omitted); see Stewart v. Walbridge, Aldinger Co., 882 F.Supp. 1441, 1443 (D. Del. 1995) (" The fact that the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict does not in any way affect this Court's duty to rule on the [rule 50] motion." ). " [T]he standard for granting summary judgment 'mirrors' the standard for judgment as a matter of law, such that 'the inquiry under each is the same.'" Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150, 120 S.Ct. 2097, 147 L.Ed.2d 105 (2000) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,

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477 U.S. 242, 250-51, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)).

" [I]n entertaining a motion for judgment as a matter of law, the court should review all of the evidence in the record." Id. " In doing so, however, the court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, and it may not make any credibility determinations or weigh the evidence." Id. (citations omitted). " The question is 'whether the evidence, construed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, permits only one reasonable conclusion.'" Shum, 633 F.3d at 1076 (citation omitted).

" A mere scintilla of evidence presented by the plaintiff is not sufficient to deny a motion for judgment as a matter of law." Stewart, 882 F.Supp. at 1443. " The Court must determine not whether there is literally no evidence supporting the non-moving party, but whether there is evidence upon which the jury could properly find for the non-moving party." Id. (citing Walter v. Holiday Inns., Ins., 985 F.2d 1232, 1238 (3d Cir. 1993)). " The Court should grant the motion for judgment as a matter of law only if, 'viewing all the evidence which has been tendered and should have been admitted in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion, no jury could decide in that party's favor.'" Id. (citation omitted)


A. Standards

1. Infringement

A patent is infringed when a person " without authority makes, uses or sells any patented invention, within the United States . . . during the term of the patent." 35 U.S.C. § 271(a). To prove direct infringement, the patentee must establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that one or more claims of the patent read on the accused device literally or under the doctrine of equivalents. See Advanced Cardiovascular Sys., Inc. v. Scimed Life Sys., Inc., 261 F.3d 1329, 1336 (Fed. Cir. 2001). A two-step analysis is employed in making an infringement determination. See Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., 52 F.3d 967, 976 (Fed. Cir. 1995). First, the court must construe the asserted claims to ascertain their meaning and scope. See id. Construction of the claims is a question of law subject to de novo review. See Cybor Corp. v. FAS Techs., 138 F.3d 1448, 1454 (Fed. Cir. 1998). The trier of fact must then compare the properly construed claims with the accused infringing product. See Markman, 52 F.3d at 976. This second step is a question of fact. See Bai v. L & L Wings, Inc., 160 F.3d 1350, 1353 (Fed. Cir. 1998).

" Direct infringement requires a party to perform each and every step or element of a claimed method or product." Exergen Corp. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 575 F.3d 1312, 1320 (Fed. Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). " If any claim limitation is absent from the accused device, there is no literal infringement as a matter of law." Bayer AG v. Elan Pharm. Research Corp., 212 F.3d 1241, 1247 (Fed. Cir. 2000). If an accused product does not infringe an independent claim, it also does not infringe any claim depending thereon. See Wahpeton Canvas Co. v. Frontier, Inc., 870 F.2d 1546, 1553 (Fed. Cir. 1989). However, " [o]ne may infringe an independent claim and not infringe a claim dependent on that claim." Monsanto Co. v. Syngenta Seeds, Inc., 503 F.3d 1352, 1359 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (quoting Wahpeton Canvas, 870 F.2d at 1552) (internal quotations omitted). The patent owner has the burden of proving infringement and must meet its burden by a preponderance of the evidence. See SmithKline Diagnostics, Inc. v. Helena Lab. Corp.,

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859 F.2d 878, 889 (Fed. Cir. 1988) (citations omitted).

To establish indirect infringement, a patent owner has available two theories: active inducement of infringement and contributory infringement. See 35 U.S.C. § 271(b) & (c). To establish active inducement of infringement, a patent owner must show that an accused infringer " knew or should have known [their] actions would induce actual infringements." DSU Med. Corp. v. JMS Co., Ltd., 471 F.3d 1293, 1306 (Fed. Cir. 2006). To establish contributory infringement, a patent owner must show that an accused infringer sells " a component of a patented machine ... knowing the same to be especially made or especially adapted for use in an infringement of such patent, and not a staple article or commodity of commerce suitable for substantial noninfringing use." Golden Blount, Inc. v. Robert H. Peterson Co., 365 F.3d 1054, 1061 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (quoting 35 U.S.C. § 271 (c)). Liability under either theory, however, depends on the patent owner having first shown direct infringement. Joy Technologies, Inc. v. Flakt, Inc., 6 F.3d 770, 774 (Fed. Cir. 1993).

2. Invalidity

a. Anticipation

Under 35 U.S.C. § 102(e),

a person shall be entitled to a patent unless an application for patent, published under section 122(b), by another filed in the United States before the invention by the applicant for patent . . . or a patent granted on an application for patent by another filed in the United States before the invention by the applicant for patent.

A claim is anticipated only if each and every limitation as set forth in the claim is found, either expressly or inherently described, in a single prior art reference. Verdegaal Bros., Inc. v. Union Oil Co., 814 F.2d 628, 631 (Fed. Cir. 1987). A single prior art reference may expressly anticipate a claim where the reference explicitly discloses each and every claim limitation. However, the prior art need not be ipsissimis verbis (i.e., use identical words as those recited in the claims) to be expressly anticipating. Structural Rubber Prods. Co. v. Park Rubber Co., 749 F.2d 707, 716 (Fed. Cir. 1984). A single prior art reference also may anticipate a claim where one of ordinary skill in the art would have understood each and every claim limitation to have been disclosed inherently in the reference. Cont'l Can Co. USA Inc. v. Monsanto Co., 948 F.2d 1264, 1268 (Fed. Cir. 1991). The Federal Circuit has explained that an inherent limitation is one that is necessarily present and not one that may be established by probabilities or possibilities. Id. That is, " the mere fact that a certain thing may result from a given set of circumstances is not sufficient." Id. The Federal Circuit also has observed that " inherency operates to anticipate entire inventions as well as single limitations within an invention." Schering Corp. v. Geneva Pharms. Inc., 339 F.3d 1373, 1380 (Fed. Cir. 2003). Moreover, recognition of an inherent limitation by a person of ordinary skill in the art before the critical date is not required to establish inherent anticipation. Id. at 1377.

Even if the prior art discloses each and every limitation set forth in a claim, such disclosure will not suffice under 35 U.S.C. § 102 if it is not enabling. In re Borst, 345 F.2d 851, 855, 52 C.C.P.A. 1398, 1965 Dec. Comm'r Pat. 683 (C.C.P.A. 1965). " Long ago our predecessor court recognized that a non-enabled disclosure cannot be anticipatory (because it is not truly prior art) if that disclosure fails to 'enable one of skill in the art to reduce the disclosed invention to practice.'"

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Amgen Inc. v. Hoechst Marion Roussel, Inc., 314 F.3d 1313, 1354 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (citations omitted). The patentee bears the burden to show that the prior art reference is not enabled and, therefore, disqualified as relevant prior art for an anticipation inquiry. Id. at 1355.

An anticipation inquiry involves two steps. First, the court must construe the claims of the patent in suit as a matter of law. Key Pharms. v. Hercon Labs. Corp.., 161 F.3d 709, 714 (Fed. Cir. 1998). Second, the finder of fact must compare the construed claims against the prior art to determine whether the prior art discloses the claimed invention. Id. The burden of proof rests on the party asserting invalidity and can be met only by clear and convincing evidence. Microsoft Corp. v. i4i Ltd. Pship, ___ U.S. ___, 131 S.Ct. 2238, 2242, 180 L.Ed.2d 131 (2011 ) (" We consider whether [35 U.S.C] § 282 requires an invalidity defense to be proved by clear and convincing evidence. We hold that it does." ).

b. Obviousness

" A patent may not be obtained . . . if the differences between the subject matter sought to be patented and the prior art are such that the subject matter as a whole would have been obvious at the time the invention was made to a person having ordinary skill in the art." 35 U.S.C. § 103(a). Obviousness is a question of law, which depends on underlying factual inquiries.

Under § 103, the scope and content of the prior art are to be determined; differences between the prior art and the claims at issue are to be ascertained; and the level of ordinary skill in the pertinent art resolved. Against this background the obviousness or nonobviousness of the subject matter is determined. Such secondary considerations as commercial success, long felt but unsolved needs, failure of others, etc., might be utilized to give light to the circumstances surrounding the origin of the subject matter sought to be patented.

KSR Int'l Co. v. Teleflex Inc., 550 U.S. 398, 406, 127 S.Ct. 1727, 167 L.Ed.2d 705 (2007) (quoting Graham v. John Deere Co. of Kansas City, 383 U.S. 1, 17-18, 86 S.Ct. 684, 15 L.Ed.2d 545 (1966)).

" [A] patent composed of several elements is not proved obvious merely by demonstrating that each of its elements was, independently, known in the prior art." KSR, 550 U.S. at 418. Likewise, a defendant asserting obviousness in view of a combination of references has the burden to show that a person of ordinary skill in the relevant field had a reason to combine the elements in the manner claimed. Id. at 418-19. The Supreme Court has emphasized the need for courts to value " common sense" over " rigid preventative rules" in determining whether a motivation to combine existed. Id. at 419-20. " [A]ny need or problem known in the field of endeavor at the time of invention and addressed by the patent can provide a reason for combining the elements in the manner claimed." Id. at 420. In addition to showing that a person of ordinary skill in the art would have had reason to attempt to make the composition or device, or carry out the claimed process, a defendant must also demonstrate that " such a person would have had a reasonable expectation of success in doing so." PharmaStem Therapeutics, Inc. v. ViaCell, Inc., 491 F.3d 1342, 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2007).

A combination of prior art elements may have been " obvious to try" where there existed " a design need or market pressure to solve a problem and there [were] a finite

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number of identified, predictable solutions" to it, and the pursuit of the " known options within [a person of ordinary skill in the art's] technical grasp" leads to the anticipated success. Id. at 421. In this circumstance, " the fact that a combination was obvious to try might show that it was obvious under § 103." Id.

A fact finder is required to consider secondary considerations, or objective indicia of nonobviousness, before reaching an obviousness determination, as a " check against hindsight bias." See In re Cyclobenzaprine Hydrochloride Extended-Release Capsule Patent Litig., 676 F.3d 1063, 1079 (Fed. Cir. 2012). " Such secondary considerations as commercial success, long felt but unsolved needs, failure of others, etc., might be utilized to give light to the circumstances surrounding the origin of the subject matter sought to be patented." Graham, 383 U.S. at 17-18.

" Because patents are presumed to be valid, see 35 U.S.C. § 282, an alleged infringer seeking to invalidate a patent on obviousness grounds must establish its obviousness by facts supported by clear and convincing evidence." Kao Corp. v. Unilever U.S., Inc., 441 F.3d 963, 968 (Fed. Cir. 2006) (citation omitted). In conjunction with this burden, the Federal Circuit has explained that,

[w]hen no prior art other than that which was considered by the PTO examiner is relied on by the attacker, he has the added burden of overcoming the deference that is due to a qualified government agency presumed to have properly done its job, which includes one or more examiners who are assumed to have some expertise in interpreting the references and to be familiar from their work with the level of skill in the art and whose duty it is to issue only valid patents.

PowerOasis, Inc. v. T-Mobile USA, Inc., 522 F.3d 1299, 1304 (Fed. Cir. 2008) (quoting Am. Hoist & Derrick Co. v. Sowa & Sons, 725 F.2d 1350, 1359 (Fed. Cir. 1984)).

c. Enablement and written description

The statutory basis for the enablement and written description requirements, § 112 ¶ 1, provides in relevant part:

The specification shall contain a written description of the invention, and of the manner and process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same . . . .

" The enablement requirement is met where one skilled in the art, having read the specification, could practice the invention without 'undue experimentation.'" Streck, Inc. v. Research & Diagnostic Systems, Inc., 665 F.3d 1269, 1288 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (citation omitted). " While every aspect of a generic claim certainly need not have been carried out by the inventor, or exemplified in the specification, reasonable detail must be provided in order to enable members of the public to understand and carry out the invention." Genentech, Inc. v. Novo Nordisk A/S, 108 F.3d 1361, 1366 (Fed. Cir. 1997). The specification need not teach what is well known in the art. Id. (citing Hybritech v. Monoclonal Antibodies, Inc., 802 F.2d 1367, 1384 (Fed. Cir. 1986)). A reasonable amount of experimentation may be required, so long as such experimentation is not " undue." ALZA Corp. v. Andrx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 603 F.3d 935, 940 (Fed. Cir. 2010).

" Whether undue experimentation is needed is not a single, simple factual determination, but rather is a conclusion reached by weighing many factual considerations." Martek Biosciences Corp. v. Nutrinova, Inc.,

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579 F.3d 1363, 1378 (Fed. Cir. 2009) (citing In re Wands, 858 F.2d 731, 737 (Fed. Cir. 1988). The Federal Circuit has provided several factors that may be utilized in determining whether a disclosure would require undue experimentation: (1) the quantity of experimentation necessary; (2) the amount of direction or guidance disclosed in the patent; (3) the presence or absence of working examples in the patent; (4) the nature of the invention; (5) the state of the prior art; (6) the relative skill of those in the art; (7) the predictability of the art; and (8) the breadth of the claims. In re Wands, 858 F.2d at 737. These factors are sometimes referred to as the " Wands factors." The fact finder need not consider every one of the Wands factors in its analysis, rather, a fact finder is only required to consider those factors relevant to the facts of the case. See Streck, Inc., 665 F.3d at 1288 (citing Amgen, Inc. v. Chugai Pharm. Co., Ltd., 927 F.2d 1200, 1213 (Fed. Cir. 1991)).

The enablement requirement is a question of law based on underlying factual inquiries. See Green Edge Enterprises, LLC v. Rubber Mulch Etc., LLC, 620 F.3d 1287, 1298-99 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (citation omitted); Wands, 858 F.2d at 737. Enablement is determined as of the filing date of the patent application. In re '318 Patent Infringement Litigation, 583 F.3d 1317, 1323 (Fed. Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). The burden is on one challenging validity to show, by clear and convincing evidence, that the specification is not enabling. See Streck, Inc., 665 F.3d at 1288 (citation omitted).

A patent must also contain a written description of the invention. 35 U.S.C. § 112, ¶ 1. The written description requirement is separate and distinct from the enablement requirement. See Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Eli Lilly and Co., 598 F.3d 1336, 1351 (Fed. Cir. 2011). It ensures that " the patentee had possession of the claimed invention at the time of the application, i.e., that the patentee invented what is claimed." LizardTech, Inc. v. Earth Resource Mapping, Inc., 424 F.3d 1336, 1344-45 (Fed. Cir. 2005). The Federal Circuit has stated that the relevant inquiry -- " possession as shown in the disclosure" -- is an " objective inquiry into the four corners of the specification from the perspective of a person of ordinary skill in the art. Based on that inquiry, the specification must describe an invention understandable to that skilled artisan and show that the inventor actually invented the invention claimed." Ariad, 598 F.3d at 1351.

This inquiry is a question of fact; " the level of detail required to satisfy the written description requirement varies depending on the nature and scope of the claims and on the complexity and predictability of the relevant technology." Id. (citation omitted). In this regard, defendants must provide clear and convincing evidence that persons skilled in the art would not recognize in the disclosure a ...

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