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Interdigital Communications, Inc. v. Nokia Corporation, Nokia Inc.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

April 24, 2015

INTERDIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS, INC., a Delaware corporation, INTERDIGITAL AL TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION, a Delaware corporation, IPR LICENSING, INC., a Delaware corporation, and INTERDIGITAL HOLDINGS, INC., a Delaware corporation, Plaintiffs and Counterclaim Defendants,
v.
NOKIA CORPORATION, NOKIA INC., AND MICROSOFT MOBILE OY, Defendants and Counterclaim Plaintiffs.

Neal C. Belgam, Esq., Smith, Katzenstein & Jenkins, Wilmington, DE; Jonathan D. Link, Esq., Latham & Watkins LLP, Washington D.C.; Ron E. Schulman, Esq., Latham & Watkins LLP, Menlo Park, CA; Julie M. Holloway, Esq. (argued), Latham & Watkins LLP, San Francisco, CA, attorneys for Plaintiffs InterDigital Communications, Inc., InterDigital Technology Corporation, IPR Licensing, Inc., and InterDigital Holdings, Inc.

Rodger D. Smith II, Esq., Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP, Wilmington, DE; Richard A. Cederoth, Esq., Sidley Austin LLP, Chicago, IL; Scott Border, Esq., Joseph A. Micallef, Esq. (argued), Sidley Austin LLP, Washington, DC; Dan K. Webb, Esq., Raymond C. Perkins, Esq., Kevin E. Warner, Esq., Winston & Strawn LLP, Chicago, IL; David A. Frist, Esq., Alston & Bird, Atlanta, GA, attorneys for Defendants Nokia Corporation, Nokia, Inc. and Microsoft Microsoft Mobile Oy.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

RICHARD G. ANDREWS, District Judge.

Pending before this Court is the issue of claim construction of a disputed term found in U.S. Patent No. 8, 380, 244 ("the '244 patent"). The Court has considered the relevant papers. (D.I. 466, 467, 473, 474). The Court heard oral argument on April 23, 2015. (Tr.).[1]

I. BACKGROUND

On January 2, 2013, InterDigital Communications, Inc., InterDigital Technology Corporation, IPR Licensing, Inc., and InterDigital Holdings, Inc. filed this patent infringement action. (D.I. 1). Trial is scheduled to begin on April 27, 2015. At the pre-trial conference, the Court invited the parties to submit letters regarding whether additional claim construction would be necessary prior to trial. The parties requested additional claim construction of one disputed phrase.

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 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 quotation marks and citations omitted).

"[T]he 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." Id. at 1312-13 (internal quotation marks and citations 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).

When a court relies solely upon the intrinsic evidence-the patent claims, the specification, and the prosecution history-the court's construction is a determination of law. See Teva Pharm. USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc., 135 S.Ct. 831, 841 (2015). The court may also make factual findings based upon consideration of extrinsic evidence, which "consists of all evidence external to the patent and prosecution history, including expert and inventor testimony, dictionaries, and learned treatises." Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1317-19 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Extrinsic evidence may assist the court in understanding the underlying technology, the meaning of terms to one skilled in the art, and how the invention works. Id. Extrinsic evidence, however, 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).

III. CONSTRUCTION OF DISPUTED TERM

Claim 1 of the '244 ...


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