United States District Court, D. Delaware
B. Blumenfeld, Karen Jacobs, MORRIS, NICHOLS, ARSHT &
TUNNELL LLP Wilmington, DE Mark M. Supko, Kathryn L. Clune,
Vincent J. Galluzzo, CROWELL & MORING LLP, Washington,
D.C. Jacob Z. Zambrzycki, CROWELL & MORING LLP, New York,
NY Attorneys for Plaintiff Siemens Industry, Inc.
L. Caponi, K&L GATES LLP, Wilmington DE Alan L. Barry,
Jason A. Engel, Benjamin E. Weed, Devon C. Beane, Katherine
L. Hoffee, K&L GATES, Chicago, IL Attorneys for
Defendants Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies
Corporation(d/b/a Wabtec Corporation) and W abtec Railway
U.S. District Judge:
Siemens Industry, Inc. ("Siemens") alleges that
Defendants Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corporation
(d/b/a Wabtec Corporation) and Wabtec Railway Electronics,
Inc. (collectively, "Wabtec") infringe 13 patents
directed to different aspects of train safety and control.
The 13 patents can be broken into three technological
buckets: patents relating to the onboard unit
("OBU"); patents directed to the back office server
("BOS"); and patents relating to end-of-train
before the Court is the issue of claim construction. The
parties submitted briefs (see D.I. 107, 109, 119,
121) and technology tutorials (D.I. 106, 110). The Court held
a claim construction hearing on September 5, 2017.
(See D.I. 49)
ultimate question of the proper construction of a patent is a
question of law. See TevaPharm. USA, Inc. v. Sandoz,
Inc., 135 S.Ct. 831, 837 (2015) (citingMarkman v.
Westview Instruments, Inc., 517 U.S. 370, 388-91
(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 is free to attach
the appropriate weight to appropriate sources "in light
of the statutes and policies that inform patent law."
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 (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). 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).
"the claims themselves provide substantial guidance as
to the meaning of particular claim terms, " the context
of the surrounding words of the claim also must be
considered. Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1314. Furthermore,
"[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. . . ." Id.
(internal citation omitted).
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).
also possible that "the 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.3dat 1316. 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." Hill-Rom
Servs., Inc. v. Stryker Corp., 755 F.3d 1367, 1372 (Fed.
Cir. 2014) (quotingLiebel-Flarsheim Co. v. Medrad,
Inc., 358 F.3d 898, 906 (Fed. Cir. 2004)) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
addition to the specification, a court "should also
consider the patent's prosecution history, if it is in
evidence." Markman v. Westview Instruments,
Inc., 52 F.3d 967, 980 (Fed. Cir. 1995), affd,
517 U.S. 370 (1996). The prosecution history, which is
"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."
cases, "the district court will need to look beyond the
patent's intrinsic evidence and to consult extrinsic
evidence in order to understand, for example, the background
science or the meaning of a term in the relevant art during
the relevant time period." Teva, 135 S.Ct. at
841. Extrinsic evidence "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. 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."
Id. at 1318-19. Where the intrinsic record
unambiguously describes the scope of the patented invention,
reliance on any extrinsic evidence is improper. See
Pitney Bowes, Inc. v. Hewlett-Packard Co., 182 F.3d
1298, 1308 (Fed. Cir. 1999) (citing Vitronics, 90
F.3d at 1583).
"[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)
(quoting Modine Mfg. Co. v. U.S. Int'l Trade Comm
% 75 F.3d 1545, 1550 (Fed. Cir. 1996)).
CONSTRUCTION OF DISPUTED TERMS
"weight of the train" 
No construction necessary. 
Alternative: The combined weight of the cars making
up the train.
The actual weight of the train.
The combined weight of the cars making up the train.
parties dispute whether the "weight of the train"
must be the actual weight (Wabtec's proposal) or an
estimated weight (Siemens' proposal). Wabtec contends
that the patent was meant to overcome the
"worst-case" assumption used in the fixed braking
curve system of the prior art - a system that stops the train
by calculating the time and distance before the train reaches
a stop signal based on the assumption that the train is
"traveling downhill on the most steeply graded section
of track, and that the train is at the maximum weight."
'801patent at 3:22-25. One problem with the prior art
fixed braking curve system is that it resulted in the train
stopping too early, and thus, the system operating
inefficiently. According to Wabtec, because the prior art was
based on an estimated weight of the train, and
because the patent was meant to overcome this problem of
stopping too early, the "weight of the train" here
must be construed as the actual, rather than the estimated,
weight of the train. (D.I. 109 at 11-12)
the patent was meant to overcome the fixed braking curve
system of the prior art, Siemens contends that the solution
was based on an innovation other than a transition from using
an estimated weight to the actual weight of the train. (D.I.
119 at 2-3) Instead, the patent "identifies numerous
factors that may be taken into account to more accurately
determine when and how to automatically apply a train's
brakes." (Id. at 3) For example, the patent
calculates the time and/or distance required to stop the
train depending on factors such as "the speed of the
train, the weight and length of the train, the grade and
amount of curvature of the upcoming track ..., braking power,
braking ratios, type of brake equipment, aerodynamic drag of
the train, etc." '801 patent at 11:26-33. Siemens
contends that "nowhere in the claims or the
specification are words such as 'actual, '
'exact, ' or 'precise' used with respect to
weight, nor is there even any discussion of how the weight of
the train is to be determined as a practical matter."
(D.I. 119 at 3)
Court agrees with Siemens. The patent uses the term
"weight of the train" only generally; nowhere does
it indicate whether that weight must be exact or whether a
specific method must be used to calculate it. The
specification makes clear that the patented invention uses
many factors to calculate the speed/distance required to stop
the train, rather than simply assuming the worst-case
scenario, see '801 patent at 11:26-33, and none
of the listed factors involve using an exact or precise
weight. Instead, the patented method considers multiple
factors not considered by the prior art (e.g., length of the
train, track curvature, braking power, etc.) in order to
create a more efficient system. Nothing in the claims or
specification preclude using an estimated weight of the
the Court will adopt Siemens' proposed construction of
"the combined weight of the cars making up the
when a train is in danger of violating the
No construction necessary.
Alternative: Ascertaining that a train is likely to
exceed a maximum allowable speed.
Ascertaining that a train is likely to exceed a
maximum allowable speed.
contends that the term "determining when a train is in
danger of violating the speed restriction" is indefinite
because the patent "provides zero guidance on how the
claimed train control system actually determines what
constitutes 'danger' versus what does not."
(D.I. 109 at 29) Siemens counters that the term is not
indefinite, and further that it is a non-technical phrase
that requires no construction. (D.I. 107 at 4-5) According to
Siemens, the ordinary meaning of the term is explained in the
specification, which teaches that the invention may be
implemented with a computer that monitors the speed of the
train in order "to warn the conductor or engineer if an
authority (speed, position, etc.) is about to be exceeded
and, if required, to automatically stop or slow down the
train before the authority is exceeded." '801 patent
at 12:60-13:4; id. at 5:65-6:3. Furthermore, Siemens
explains that, "[w]hether and when such a warning is
given can be based on a variety of factors, including the
grade of the track (e.g., uphill, downhill) and the weight of
the train." (D.I. 107 at 5) .
Court agrees with Siemens. Wabtec has failed to show that the patents
do not provide a person of ordinary skill in the art at least
reasonable certainty as to the scope of its claims. See
Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc., 134 S.Ct.
2120, 2124 (2014).
the specification does not explicitly define when a train is
in "danger" of violating a certain restriction, the
ordinary meaning of the term and the specification provide
enough detail that one of ordinary skill in the art is able
to determine the scope of the claims. As explained in
relation to the term "weight of the train, " the
patented invention calculates the time and/or distance
required to stop the train - e.g., when it is in danger of
violating a restriction - based on multiple factors. Given
the multiple variables that go into such a determination, it
is sensible that the patent does not delineate each potential
circumstance in which the train may be in danger of such a
violation. The record reveals no basis to doubt that a person
of ordinary skill in the art would understand that a train is
in danger of violating the speed restriction when the train
is likely to exceed a maximum allowable speed, based on
various factors (including those expressly identified in the
compliance with a regulation" 
No construction necessary.
Alternative: In accordance with a rule or directive
mandated by an authority.
In accordance with a rule or directive mandated by an
contends the term "in compliance with a regulation"
is indefinite because "the first time the term appears
in the ' 110 Patent is in the claims themselves, "
and "the term lacks any clarity regarding the
regulations to which it refers." (D.I. 109 at 30)
Siemens counters that the fact that the term does not appear
in the patent prior to the claims does not mandate finding
the term indefinite. (D.I. 119 at 6) (citing All Dental
Prox, LLC v. Advantage Dental Prods., Inc., 309 F.3d
774, 779 (Fed. Cir. 2002)) Instead, in Siemens' view,
because a person of ordinary skill in the art reading the
patent would understand the regulations to which the term
refers, the term is not indefinite. Siemens also points out