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United Access Technologies, LLC v. AT&T Corp.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

August 22, 2017

UNITED ACCESS TECHNOLOGIES, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
AT&T CORP., AT&T SERVICES, INC, and SBC INTERNET SERVICES, INC. Defendants. UNITED ACCESS TECHNOLOGIES, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
CENTURYTEL BROADBAND SERVICES, LLC and QWEST CORPORATION, Defendants. UNITED ACCESS TECHNOLOGIES, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION, Defendant.

          Stamatios Stamoulis and Richard C. Weinblatt, STAMOULIS & WEINBLATT LLC, Wilmington, DE Steven Callahan, Martin Robson, Anthony M. Garza, and C. Luke Nelson, CHARHON CALLAHAN ROBSON & GARZA, Dallas, TX Attorneys for Plaintiff.

          Benjamin J. Schladweiler, ROSS ARONSTAM & MORITZ LLP, Wilmington, DE Bryant C. Boren, Jr., Jon V. Swenson, Elizabeth Boggs, Jason German, and Jay B. Schiller, BAKER BOTTS LLP, Palo Alto, CA Attorneys for Defendants AT&T Corp., AT&T Services, Inc., and SBC Internet Services, LLC.

          Richard L. Renck, DUANE MORRIS LLP, Wilmington, DE Matthew C. Gaudet, Alison H. Hutton, and Jennifer H. Forte, DUANE MORRIS LLP, Atlanta, GA Attorneys for Defendants CenturyTel Broadband Services, LLC and Qwest Corporation.

          Phillip A. Rovner and Jonathan A. Choa, POTTER ANDERSON & CORROON, LLP, Wilmington, DE Timothy R. Shannon, Taylor R. Neff, and Seth S. Coburn, VERRILL DANA, LLP, Portland, ME Attorneys for Defendant Frontier Communications Corporation.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          STARK, U.S. District Judge

         On April 15, 2011, Plaintiff United Access Technologies LLC ("United Access") filed suit against Defendants AT&T Corp., AT&T Services, Inc., and SBC Internet Services, LLC; CenturyTel Broadband Services, LLC and Qwest Corporation; and Frontier Communications Corporation (collectively, "Defendants"), alleging infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 5, 844, 596, 6, 243, 446, and 6, 542, 585, [1]which describe and claim systems for transmitting data to residences or businesses over existing telephone wiring without interfering with telephone signals or the switching equipment that is part of the public switched telephone network.

         The Court issued a claim construction opinion on November 4, 2016. (See C.A. No. 11-339-LPS D.I. 178)[2] In light of that claim construction, the parties jointly requested that Defendants be allowed to file an early motion for summary judgment of non-infringement. (See D.I. 184) Presently before the Court is that motion for summary judgment of non-infringement. The Court heard oral argument on February 27, 2017. (See D.I. 200 ("Tr."))

         For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment of non-infringement.

         I. LEGAL STANDARDS

         Under Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, "[t]he 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." The moving party bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 585-86 (1986). An assertion that a fact cannot be - or, alternatively, is - genuinely disputed must be supported either by "citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials, " or by "showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A) & (B). If the moving party has carried its burden, the nonmovant must then "come forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (internal quotation marks omitted). The Court will "draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, and it may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence." Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).

         To defeat a motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving party must "do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586; see also Podobnik v. U.S. Postal Serv., 409 F.3d 584, 594 (3d Cir. 2005) (stating party opposing summary judgment "must present more than just bare assertions, conclusory allegations or suspicions to show the existence of a genuine issue") (internal quotation marks omitted). The "mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment;" a factual dispute is genuine only where "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). "If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted." Id. at 249-50 (internal citations omitted); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986) (stating entry of summary judgment is mandated "against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial"). Thus, the "mere existence of a scintilla of evidence" in support of the nonmoving party's position is insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment; there must be "evidence on which the jury could reasonably find" for the nonmoving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Defendants move for summary judgment on the grounds that (1) the remote-terminal embodiments of the accused systems do not literally meet the "signal interface" limitation and (2) predicating infringement of that limitation on the doctrine of equivalents would result in claim vitiation.[3]

         A. ...


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