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Semcon Tech, LLC v. Micron Technology, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

June 15, 2017

SEMCON TECH, LLC, Plaintiff;
v.
MICRON TECHNOLOGY, INC., Defendant.

          Richard D. Kirk, Esq., BAYARD, P.A., Wilmington, DE; Stephen B. Brauerman, Esq., BAYARD, P.A., Wilmington, DE; Vanessa R. Tiradentes, Esq., BAYARD, P.A., Wilmington, DE; Sara E. Bussiere, Esq., BAYARD, P.A., Wilmington, DE; Marc A. Fenster, Esq., RUSS, AUGUST & KABAT, Los Angeles, CA; Paul A. Kroeger, Esq. (argued), RUSS, AUGUST & KABAT, Los Angeles, CA; Jeffrey Z. Y. Liao, Esq., RUSS, AUGUST & KABAT, Los Angeles, CA. Attorneys for Plaintiff

          Frederick L. Cottrell, III, Esq., RICHARDS LAYTON & FINGER, P.A., Wilmington, DE; Travis Hunter, Esq., RICHARDS LAYTON & FINGER, P.A., Wilmington, DE; Jared Bobrow, Esq. (argued), WEIL, GOTSHAL & MANGES LLP, Redwood Shores, CA; Aaron Y. Huang, Esq., WEIL, GOTSHAL & MANGES LLP, Redwood Shores, CA. Attorneys for Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Presently before the Court are Plaintiffs Motion for Partial Summary Judgment of No Invalidity on Residual Grounds and for Dismissal of Defendant Micron Technology, Inc.'s Other Pleaded Defenses (D.I. 184) and related briefing (D.I. 185, 209, 226), Plaintiffs Motion for Partial Summary Judgment of No Invalidity for Anticipation Under 35 U.S.C. § 102 and Obviousness Under 35 U.S.C. § 103 (D.I. 186) and related briefing (D.I. 189, 206, 227), and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment of Noninfringement (D.I. 188) and related briefing (D.I. 190, 212, 224). The Court heard oral argument on January 17, 2017. (D.I. 270) ("Hr'g Tr."). For the reasons that follow, Plaintiffs Motion for Partial Summary Judgment of No Invalidity on Residual Grounds and for Dismissal of Defendant Micron Technology, Inc.'s Other Pleaded Defenses (D.I. 184) is granted-in-part and denied-in-part. Defendant's Sixth, Eighth, and Tenth Defenses are dismissed. Plaintiffs motion is denied as to the remaining defenses. Plaintiffs Motion for Partial Summary Judgment of No Invalidity for Anticipation Under 35 U.S.C. § 102 and Obviousness Under 35 U.S.C. § 103 (D.I. 186) and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment of Noninfringement (D.I. 188) are denied.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff brought this infringement action on April 27, 2012, alleging that Defendant infringes U.S. Patent No. 7, 156, 717 ("the '717 patent"). (D.I. 1). Defendant answered, raising ten defenses. (D.I. 10). The Court issued a Markman opinion construing disputed terms on September 9, 2014. (D.I. 98). On May 26, 2015, the parties filed cross-motions for Summary Judgment on a variety of grounds. (D.I. 184, 186, 187, 188). On August 17, 2015, the Court granted Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment of Invalidity (D.I. 187) and dismissed the other pending Summary Judgment motions as moot. (D.I. 254). Plaintiff appealed. On August 19, 2016, the Federal Circuit vacated and remanded. (D.I. 262). Subsequently, both parties renewed the summary judgment motions previously dismissed as moot.

         The '717 patent claims methods of finishing semiconductor wafers. Plaintiff has asserted claims 1, 12, 37, and 56. (D.I. 189 at 5; Hr'g Tr. at 5:2). Claim 1 is representative and reads:

1. A method of finishing a tracked semiconductor wafer having a semiconductor wafer surface and a finishing cycle time, the method comprising the steps of:
providing the tracked semiconductor wafer having tracked information;
providing a finishing surface;
providing a finishing aid to an interface formed between the finishing surface and the semiconductor wafer surface;
providing a finishing control subsystem having:
at least three operative process sensors for sensing in situ process information during the finishing cycle time;
access to the tracked information; and
a processor to evaluate the in situ process information and the tracked information;
applying an operative finishing motion in the interface forming at least
one region having the finishing aid and wherein the at least one region has a tangential force of friction; and
changing a plurality of control parameters in response to an evaluation of both the in situ process information sensed with the at least three operative process sensors and the tracked information and wherein changing the control parameters changes the tangential force of friction in the at least one region having the finishing aid during at least a portion of the finishing cycle time.

('717 patent, claim 1).

         II. Legal Standard

         "The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party has the initial burden of proving the absence of a genuinely disputed material fact relative to the claims in question. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,477 U.S. 317, 330 (1986). Material facts are those "that could affect the outcome" of the proceeding, and "a dispute about a material fact is 'genuine' if the evidence is sufficient to permit a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Lamont v. New Jersey,637 F.3d 177, 181 (3d Cir. 2011) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). The burden on the ...


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