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D&M Holdings Inc. v. Sonos, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

August 3, 2017

D&M HOLDINGS INC. d/b/a THE D GROUP, D&M HOLDINGS U.S. INC., Plaintiffs,
v.
SONOS, INC., Defendant.

          Jack B. Blumenfeld, Esq., MORRIS NICHOLS ARSHT & TUNNELL LLP, Wilmington, DE; Michael J. Flynn, Esq., MORRIS NICHOLS ARSHT & TUNNELL LLP, Wilmington, DE; John M. Jackson, Esq. (argued), JACKSON WALKER LLP, Dallas, TX; Matthew C. Acosta, Esq. (argued), JACKSON WALKER LLP, Dallas, TX; Blake T. Dietrich, Esq., JACKSON WALKER LLP, Dallas, TX; David Folsom, Esq., JACKSON WALKER LLP, Texarkana, TX. Attorneys for Plaintiffs

          Phillip A. Rovner, Esq., POTTER ANDERSON & CORROON LLP, Wilmington, DE; Jonathan A. Choa, Esq., POTTER ANDERSON & CORROON LLP, Wilmington, DE; George I. Lee, Esq., LEE SULLIVAN SHEA & SMITH, LLP, Chicago, IL; Sean M. Sullivan, Esq. (argued), LEE SULLIVAN SHEA & SMITH, LLP, Chicago, IL; Rory P. Shea, Esq. (argued), LEE SULLIVAN SHEA & SMITH, LLP, Chicago, IL; J. Dan Smith, Esq., LEE SULLIVAN SHEA & SMITH, LLP, Chicago, IL; Michael P. Boyea, Esq., LEE SULLIVAN SHEA & SMITH, LLP, Chicago, IL. Attorneys for Defendant

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Presently before the Court is the issue of claim construction of multiple terms in U.S. Patent Nos. 7, 734, 850 ("the '850 patent"), 6, 539, 210 ("the '210 patent"), 6, 469, 633 ("the '633 patent"), 8, 755, 667 ("the '667 patent"), 6, 473, 441 ("the '441 patent") and 7, 987, 294 ("the '294 patent"). The Court has considered the Parties' Joint Claim Construction Brief and the additional letter briefing submitted after the Markman hearing. (D.I. 92, 100, 102). The Court heard oral argument on June 21, 2017. (D.I. 101) ("Hr'g Tr.").

         I. BACKGROUND

         This patent infringement lawsuit began when Plaintiffs requested leave to add counterclaims in a related action filed by Defendant against Plaintiffs on October 21, 2014. (Civ. Act. No. 14-1330, D.I. 81). The Court granted leave but severed these infringement counterclaims into the instant case. (Civ. Act. No. 14-1330, D.I. 100). Plaintiffs asserted nine patents in their counterclaims. (D.I. 1). Defendant moved to dismiss seven of these counterclaims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. (D.I. 9). On April 18, 2017, the Court granted Defendant's motion in part, finding that U.S. Patent Nos. 7, 343, 435 and 7, 305, 694 are directed to abstract ideas and that Plaintiffs had failed to plausibly allege infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7, 995, 899 ("the '899 patent"). (D.I. 58). Plaintiffs were given leave to amend as to the '899 patent. (Id. at 23). Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on May 1, 2017. (D.I. 65).

         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) (alteration in original). 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 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 (citations and internal 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.

         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 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) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

         III. CONSTRUCTION OF DISPUTED TERMS

         A. The Patents-In-Suit

         The '850 patent is directed to methods for resuming interrupted data stream transfers. Claim 1 is representative and reads as follows:

         1. A method of resuming an interrupted data stream transfer comprising:

obtaining recovery state information, including a stored compression block boundary position and a stored file boundary position of the interrupted data stream transfer;
resuming the data stream transfer by requesting a compressed data stream starting with the stored compression block boundary position;
advancing through the resumed data stream transfer to reach the stored file boundary position by decompressing data from the stored compression block boundary position to the stored file boundary position;
once the file boundary position has been reached, decompressing and de-archiving data after the file boundary position; and
storing the de-archived data in a destination file system.

('850 patent, claim 1) (disputed term italicized).

         The '210 patent is directed to methods and systems for identifying and matching broadcast signals with signal information. Claim 1 is representative of the method claims and reads as follows:

         1. A method of identifying signal sources, comprising:

selecting a communication medium from a plurality of communication media, to supply a signal;
storing medium selection data identifying the communication medium;
obtaining the signal from a signal source via the communication medium; and
accessing at least one database from a data source separate from the signal source to obtain signal information about the signal source.

('210 patent, claim 1) (disputed terms italicized). Claim 44 is representative of the apparatus claims and reads as follows:

         44. An apparatus for identifying signal sources, comprising:

means for selecting a communication medium from a plurality of communication media, including at least broadcast signals received from an antenna and packetized signals received via a packet-based network, to supply a signal;
means for storing medium selection data identifying the communication medium, including first and second medium selection data for receiving the signal from the signal source via first and second communication media, respectively;
means for obtaining the signal from a signal source via the communication medium;
means for accessing at least one database from a data source separate from the signal source to obtain signal information about the signal source;
means for outputting the signal from the signal source as received via the first communication medium in response to selection by a user; and
means for automatically switching to the second communication medium for receipt of the signal in response to detection of deterioration of the signal.

('210 patent, claim 44) (disputed terms italicized).

         The '633 patent contains three independent claims: claims 1-3. Claim 1 is representative and reads:

         1. An apparatus controlling at least one electrical device, comprising:

a display device to display representations of controls for a currently selected device and one of video signals from the currently selected device and a representation of the currently selected device;
a remote control transmitter, including a user interface consisting of only a cursor moving control and buttons to select one of icons and text displayed on said display device and what is displayed at a cursor position, to transmit a user generated signal indicating selection of a position on said display device corresponding to a selected control representation;
a remote control receiver to receive the user generated signal from said remote control transmitter;
a processor, coupled to said remote control receiver, to determine the position on said display device selected by the user generated signal and control operations corresponding thereto; and
a device controller, coupled to said processor and the at least one electrical device, to control operation of the at least one electrical device in accordance with the control operations corresponding to the position selected by the user generated signal.

('633 patent, claim 1) (disputed term italicized).

         The '667 patent is directed to a system and methods for inputting text using an on-screen display. ...


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