United States District Court, D. Delaware
Rosemary J. Piergiovanni, FARNAN LLP, Wilmington, DE; Peter
J. McAndrews (argued) and Michael Tomsa (argued), MCANDREWS,
HELD & MALLOY, Chicago, IL. Attorneys for Plaintiff.
Kenneth L. Dorsney, MORRIS JAMES LLP, Wilmington, DE; Jeffrey
D. Dyess and Benn C. Wilson (argued), BRADLEY ARANT BOULT
CUMMINGS, Birmingham, AL. Attorneys for Defendant Adtran Inc.
ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is the issue of claim construction of
multiple terms in U.S. Patent No. 8, 625, 660 ("the
'660 patent"). The Court has considered the
Parties' Joint Claim Construction Brief. (Civ. Act. No.
14-00954-RGA, D.I. 318; Civ. Act. No. 15-00121-RGA; D.I.
321). The Court heard oral argument on February
27, 2018. (D.I. 370). Prior to oral argument, the parties
agreed on a construction for the term "carriers."
patent-in-suit represents "Family 10" of the
patents that Plaintiff has asserted against Defendant Adtran.
(D.I. 318, p. 1). The '660 patent relates to increasing
the data rate and impairment immunity of multicarrier
communications systems by assigning different margins to
individual carriers. The '660 patent claims both methods
and systems for modulating bits onto sets of carriers using
different signal to noise ratio margins.
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) (en banc) (citation
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, 979-80 (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.
words of a claim are generally given their ordinary and
customary meaning. . . . [This 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. "[T]he ordinary meaning of a
claim term is its meaning to [an] ordinary artisan after
reading the entire patent." Id. at 1321.
"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.
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. 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.
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)
CONSTRUCTION OF DISPUTED TERMS Plaintiff asserts
claims 5 and 14 of the '660 patent. (D.I. 318, pp.
of the '660 patent reads as follows:
5. An apparatus comprising:
a multicarrier communications transceiver operable
to modulate a first plurality of bits onto a first plurality
of carriers using a first Signal to Noise Ratio
(SNR) margin and to modulate a second plurality of bits
onto a second plurality of carriers using a second
SNR margin, wherein the first plurality of
carriers is different than the second plurality
of carriers, wherein the first SNR margin specifies a
first value for an increase in noise associated with the
first plurality of subcarriers, wherein the second SNR margin
specifies a second value for an increase in noise associated
with the ...