United States District Court, D. Delaware
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
R. FALLON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
patent infringement action filed by plaintiff Collabo
Innovations, Inc. ("Collabo") against defendant
Omni Vision Technologies, Inc. ("Omni Vision"),
Collabo alleges infringement of United States Patent Nos. 7,
411, 180 ("the '180 patent"), 8, 592, 880
("the '880 patent"), 7, 944, 493 ("the
'493 patent"), 7, 728, 895 ("the '895
patent"), and 8, 004, 026 ("the '026
patent") (the "asserted patents" or the
"patents-in-suit"). Presently before the court is
the matter of claim construction. This order sets forth the
court's constructions for the disputed claim terms
discussed in the briefing and at the Markman hearing
held on July 12, 2017.
is a Delaware corporation with its headquarters in Costa
Mesa, California. (D.I. 14 at ¶ 1) Collabo is the sole
owner by assignment of the patents-in-suit, which are
directed to image sensors of semiconductor integrated
circuits. (Id. at ¶¶ 6-10)
is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of
business in Santa Clara, California. (Id. at ¶
2) OmniVision manufactures and sells semiconductor devices,
including CMOS image sensors, which are incorporated into
consumer electronics such as mobile handsets, tablets,
automotive cameras, and gamepads. (Id. at
filed suit against OmniVision on March 29, 2016, alleging
that OmniVision makes, uses, offers to sell, and/or imports
into the United States semiconductor devices, including
complementary metal-oxide semiconductor ("CMOS")
image sensors, which utilize technologies covered by the
patents-in-suit. (D.I. 1 at ¶ 11) On July 19, 2016, this
action was referred by Judge Robinson for discovery and all
motions to dismiss, amend, transfer, and any discovery
motions permitted. (D.I. 24) The parties completed briefing
on claim construction on May 11, 2017. (D.I. 49; D.I. 55;
D.I. 60; D.I. 63) On June 8, 2017, the parties consented to
the jurisdiction of the magistrate judge for disposition on
claim construction. (D.I. 71) A Markman hearing was
held on July 12, 2017.
the claims of a patent presents a question of law, although
subsidiary fact finding is sometimes necessary. Teva
Pharms. USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc., 135 S.Ct. 831, 837-38
(2015) (citing Markman v. Westview Instruments,
Inc., 52 F.3d 967, 977-78 (Fed. Cir. 1995),
aff'd, 517 U.S. 370, 388-90 (1996)). "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. AWHCorp., 415
F.3d 1303, 1312 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (internal quotation marks
omitted). "[T]here is no magic formula or catechism for
conducting claim construction." Id. at 1324.
Instead, the court may attach the appropriate weight to
appropriate sources "in light of the statutes and
policies that inform patent law." Id.
words of the claims "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."
Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1312-13 (internal citations
and quotation marks omitted). "[T]he ordinary meaning of
a claim term is its meaning to the ordinary artisan after
reading the entire patent." Id. at 1321
(internal quotation marks omitted); see also Eon Corp. IP
Holdings v. Silver Spring Networks, Inc., 815 F.3d 1314,
1320 (Fed. Cir. 2016). Claim terms are typically used
consistently throughout the patent, and "usage of a term
in one claim can often illuminate the meaning of the same
term in other claims." Phillips, 415 F.3d at
1314 (observing that "[o]ther claims of the patent in
question, both asserted and unasserted, can also be valuable
sources of enlightenment. . . [b]ecause claim terms are
normally used consistently throughout the patent. . .
likewise true that "[differences among claims can also
be a useful guide .... For example, the presence of a
dependent claim that adds a particular limitation gives rise
to a presumption that the limitation in question is not
present in the independent claim." Id. at
1314-15 (internal citation omitted). This "presumption
is especially strong when the limitation in dispute is the
only meaningful difference between an independent and
dependent claim, and one party is urging that the limitation
in the dependent claim should be read into the independent
claim." SunRace Roots Enter. Co., Ltd. v. SRAM
Corp., 336 F.3d 1298, 1303 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (citing
Ecolab Inc. v. Paraclipse, Inc., 285 F.3d 1362, 1375
(Fed. Cir. 2002).
intrinsic evidence, including the patent 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." Vitronics
Corp. v. Conceptronic, Inc., 90 F.3d 1576, 1582 (Fed.
Cir. 1996). "[T]he specification may reveal a special
definition given to a claim term by the patentee that differs
from the meaning it would otherwise possess. In such cases,
the inventor's lexicography governs."
Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1316 (citing CCS Fitness,
Inc. v. Brunswick Corp., 288 F.3d 1359, 1366 (Fed. Cir.
2002)). It bears emphasis that "[e]ven when the
specification describes only a single embodiment, the claims
of the patent will not be read restrictively unless the
patentee has demonstrated a clear intention to limit the
claim scope using words or expressions of manifest exclusion
or restriction." Liebel-Flarsheim Co. v. Medrad,
Inc., 358 F.3d 898, 906 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (internal
quotation marks omitted), aff'd, 481 F.3d 1371
(Fed. Cir. 2007). The specification "is not a substitute
for, nor can it be used to rewrite, the chosen claim
language." SuperGuide Corp. v. DirecTV Enters.,
Inc., 358 F.3d 870, 875 (Fed. Cir. 2004).
addition to the specification, a court "should also
consider the patent's prosecution history, if it is in
evidence." Markman, 52 F.3d at 980. The
prosecution history, which is also "intrinsic evidence,
" "consists of the complete record of the
proceedings before the PTO [Patent and Trademark Office] and
includes the prior art cited during the examination of the
patent." Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1317.
"[T]he prosecution history can often inform the meaning
of the claim language by demonstrating how the inventor
understood the invention and whether the inventor limited the
invention in the course of prosecution, making the claim
scope narrower than it would otherwise be." Id.
also may rely on "extrinsic evidence, " which
"consists of all evidence external to the patent and
prosecution history, including expert and inventor testimony,
dictionaries, and learned treatises." Markman,
52 F.3d at 980. For instance, technical dictionaries can
assist the court in determining the meaning of a term to
those of skill in the relevant art because such dictionaries
"endeavor to collect the accepted meanings of terms used
in various fields of science and technology."
Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1318. In addition, expert
testimony can be useful "to ensure that the court's
understanding of the technical aspects of the patent is
consistent with that of a person of skill in the art, or to
establish that a particular term in the patent or the prior
art has a particular meaning in the pertinent field."
Id. Nonetheless, courts must not lose sight of the
fact that "expert reports and testimony [are] generated
at the time of and for the purpose of litigation and thus can
suffer from bias that is not present in intrinsic
evidence." Id. ("[C]onclusory, unsupported
assertions by experts as to the definition of a claim term
are not useful to a court."). Overall, while extrinsic
evidence may be useful to the court, it is less reliable than
intrinsic evidence, and its consideration "is unlikely
to result in a reliable interpretation of patent claim scope
unless considered in the context of the intrinsic
evidence." Mat 1318-19.
"[t]he construction that stays true to the claim
language and most naturally aligns with the patent's
description of the invention will be, in the end, the correct
construction." 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).
CONSTRUCTION OF DISPUTED TERMS
Claim Construction of the '180 Patent
parties represent that, after continued meet and confers,
they have reached agreement on the disputed claim terms in
the ' 180 patent. (7/12/17 Tr. at 79:15-80:11) In
accordance with the parties' agreement, the claim terms
of the '180 patent shall be construed in the following
"transparent film" (' 180 patent,
"a clear layer of material that allows light
to pass through"
"transparent film on said micro-lenses"
(' 180 patent, claim 1)
"transparent film directly on said
"micro-lenses" ('180 patent, claims 1
"multiple miniature bodies of material wherein
each body is for focusing light"
Claim Construction of the '895 Patent
'895 patent, entitled "Solid-state image sensing
device having shared floating diffusion portions, "
teaches ways to reduce the size of each pixel by allowing
different pixels to share common parts. ('895 patent,
col. 1:25-37) Specifically, the '895 patent teaches
arranging the floating diffusion portions in a specific
configuration to be shared among photoelectric conversion
portions, thereby reducing the overall size. (Id. at
col. 2:1-4) The reduction in pixel size allows designers of
digital cameras, smart phones, and other devices containing
image sensors to ...