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United States District Court, D. Delaware

October 27, 2017

IYM TECHNOLOGIES LLC Plaintiff,

v.

ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, INC. Defendant.

**ORDER CONSTRUING THE TERMS OF U.S. PATENT NO. 7,
448.012**

After considering the submissions of the parties and hearing oral argument on the matter, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED that, as used in the asserted claims of U.S. Patent No. 7, 448, 012 ("the '012 patent"):

1. The
phrase **"constructing a system of initial
constraints among said layout objects, "** as
used in the '012 patent, is construed to mean
"building a set of linear equations from the initial
coordinate variables of the layout objects and the initial
limitations on the geometry parameters of the layout
objects."^{[1]}

2. The
phrase **"computing local process modifications to
change said initial constraints using said descriptions of
manufacturing process, "** as used in the
'012 patent, is construed to mean "computing
location specific modifications to the system of initial
constraints using said descriptions of the manufacturing
process."^{[2]}

3. The
phrase **"constructing new local constraint
distances by combining said local process modifications with
constraint distances, "** as used in the '012
patent, is construed to have its plain and ordinary
meaning.^{[3]}

4. The
phrase **"enforcing said new local constraint
distances, "** as used in the '012 patent, is
construed to mean "solving a set of equations after
incorporating the new local constraint
distances."^{[4]}

---------

Notes:

^{[1]} Plaintiffs argument is twofold: the
term "constraints" needs no construction, but, if
it does, the term means "limits on geometry parameters
of the layout objects in the design layout." Defendant
argues that the entire claim phrase requires construction and
means "building a set of linear equations from the
coordinate variables of the layout objects and constraint
distances between layout objects." The court finds that
both the term "constraints" and the entire claim
phrase requires construction.

First, the term constraints should be construed to
mean "limitations on the geometry parameters of the
layout objects in the design layout." The Summary of the
Invention describes the process of the layout production and
design. When the initial layout is produced by the software,
"the relative distance between layout objects are
constrained by design rules." '012 patent col. 1,
ll.21-23. The chip layout remains true to the design rules
despite any modifications to the layout done by the present
invention. *Markman* Hr'g Tr. 49:12-17. The design
rules, therefore, act as the very first constraints among the
layout objects. The specification explains that "design
rules guarantee yield by limiting layout geometry parameters
such as minimum spacing, minimal line width, etc."
'012 patent, col. 3, ll. 10-11; *see also Markman*
Hr'g Tr. 6:6-9. The court is satisfied that constraints,
like design rules, are "limits on the geometry
parameters of the layout objects in the design
layout."

Plaintiff offered the court a definition of
constraints, which the court accepted, but has failed to
establish what *"constructing* a system of
initial constraints" means. Defendant argues that the
construction of a system of initial constraints requires
three things: (1) linear equations, (2) constraint distances,
and (3) coordinate variables. The court agrees that both
linear equations and coordinate variables should be included
in the construction of this claim phrase, but the court will
not include constraint distances in its construction.

The specification and prosecution history support
Defendant's argument that linear equations are a required
component in the construction of a system of initial
constraints. Defendant asks the court to limit the
inventor's claimed "system of constraints" to
linear equations. Plaintiff disagrees and argues that
"constraints and equations are different concepts,
" because the intrinsic evidence shows that equations
can be described as something other than a constraint and a
constraint does not need to be represented in an equation.
*Markman* Hr'g Tr. 19:5-6, (D.I. 71 at 7.)
Defendant argues that the specification, prosecution history,
and the nature of the invention all demonstrate that
constructing a system of initial constraints requires
building linear equations. (D.I. 74 at 10.) The court
agrees.

First, Plaintiff was unable to point to one place in
the specification or embodiments that teach nonlinear
equations. Instead, Plaintiff points to the prosecution
history. The inventor amended claim 1 to overcome a 35 U.S.C.
§ 102 rejection by deleting the word linear. (2008
Amendment, at J.A. 254.) In explaining the amendment, the
inventor cited the Heng and the Marple patents to support his
conclusion that "non-linear constraints are implied in
the present invention." (2008 Amendment, at J.A. 258),
(D.I. 75 at 2.) The Heng specification teaches that
"[t]he system of linear constraints is difficult to
solve with a non-linear objective function." (Heng
patent, at J.A. 540.) Plaintiff believes that although
nonlinear constraints are more difficult to enforce,
"anyone who talks about any constraints or any system of
constraints know they exist." *Markman* Hr'g
Tr. 45:15-16. The Marple patent comes to a similar
conclusion. The Marple patent represents constraints both
linearly and nonlinearly and teaches that "[s]ince
nonlinear constraints are more difficult to enforce in
mathematical programming, a linear approximation to [the]
constraint is used instead." (Marple et. *al,* at
J.A. 409), *Markman* Hr'n Tr. 42:22-43:2.
Defendant contends that Marple "is still teaching us
that in your system of initial constraints you are using
linear equations." *Markman* Hr'g Tr.
46:20-23. The court agrees with Defendant. The inventor's
amendment does not indicate that a person having ordinary
skill in the art would have used nonlinear constraint
equations. In fact, Marple teaches that when faced with a
nonlinear constraint equation, the best way to enforce the
constraint is to convert the equation from nonlinear to
linear.

The specification further shows that the inventor
intended that this claimed step be completed using linear
equations. The sole description of the sole embodiment of
this claimed step, figure 1, Block 002 points to a
"well-known" procedure can be found on page 863 of
the article "Algorithmic Aspects of One-Dimensional
Layout Compaction" by Jurgen Doenhardt and Thomas
Lengauer ("the Doenhardt article"). '012
patent, col. 3, ll. 19-23. The article's only
representation of constraints is in the form of linear
equations and "are generated between the x-coordinates
of the layout components." (Doenhardt article, at J.A.
661.) The linear constraint equations form three classes of
constraints: (1) constraints that encode contacting rules,
(2) constraints that encode design rules, and (3) constraints
that encode minimum distance. (Doenhardt article, .at J.A.
661-662.) Therefore, even though *Philips* instructs
against claim constructions that limit the claimed invention
to the specification or to one embodiment, here, the use of
linear equations to construct a system of constraints as
shown in figure 1, Block 002 and its description in the
specification, the Doenhardt article, the Heng and Marple
patents all exclusively use linear equations. The court finds
that a person of ordinary skill in the art would rely on this
evidence to achieve the objects of the '012 patent.
*See Medicines Company v. Mylan, Inc.,* 853 F.3d 1296,
1309 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (limiting a claim term to an example in
a patent that was the only embodiment of the term and the
only description that cast light on what the term meant to a
person of ordinary skill in the art). The court, therefore,
limits this claimed step to linear equations.

Next, Defendant argues-and the court agrees-that coordinate variables are a necessary component of the linear equations used in the "constructing a system of initial constraints" step. The court finds that the claim language, the nature of the invention, and the specification support the inclusion of the phrase ...

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