United States District Court, D. Delaware
E. Farnan, Nicole K. Pedi, RICHARDS, LAYTON & FINGER, PA,
Wilmington, DE; Samuel E. Joyner (argued), Chijioke E. Offor
(argued), SHORE CHAN DEPUMPO LLP, Dallas, TX. Attorneys for
Tabletop Media, LLC
D. Simmons (argued), Dennis J. Butler, PANITCH SCHWARZE
BELISARIO & NADEL, LLP, Wilmington, DE; Keith A. Jones,
PANITCH SCHWARZE BELISARIO & NADEL, LLP, Philadelphia,
PA. Attorneys for AMI Entertainment Network, LLC
M. Brennecke, KLEHR, HARRISON, HARVEY, BRANZBURG LLP,
Wilmington, DE; Todd A. Noah (argued), DERGOSITS & NOAH
LLP, San Francisco, CA; Andrew S. MacKay, Padmini Cheruvu,
DONAHUE FITZGERALD LLP, Oakland, CA. Attorneys for E La
ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE:
before the Court is the issue of claim construction of
multiple terms in U.S. Patent No. 9, 403, 091 ("the
'091 patent"). The Court has considered the
parties' joint claim construction brief. (Civ. Act. No.
16-1121, D.I. 50; Civ. Act. No. 17-916, D.I.
The Court heard oral argument on May 16, 2018. (D.I. 53).
December 2, 2016, Tabletop Media filed suit against AMI for a
declaratory judgment of non-infringement of the '091
patent. (D.I. 1). On July 7, 2017, AMI filed suit against E
La Carte, alleging infringement of the '091 patent. (Civ.
Act. No. 17-916, D.I. 1).
invention claimed in the '091 patent "relates
generally to an amusement device and, more particularly,
relates to an amusement device having time-based operating
modes." ('091 patent, 1:21-23).
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).
'"[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... . [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. "[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 Pharms. 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).
of the '091 patent is representative. That claim reads as
1. A table-top, counter-top, or table-mounted amusement
(a) a frame having a base for contacting or connecting to a
table or counter;
(b) a touchscreen display disposed within the frame and
configured to accept touch input from a user;
(c) a currency accepter mounted to or disposed in the frame;
(d) a memory that stores a system control program;
(e) a communications driver disposed in the frame; and
(f) a controller disposed within the frame and operatively
connected to the memory, the communications driver, the
touchscreen display, and the currency accepter, the
controller controlling the display based upon the system
control program retrieved from the memory and based upon
inputs received by the touchscreen display, the controller
being configured to:
(i) grant a user a block of time during which the
user is permitted to selectively retrieve and play one of
a plurality of electronic games and retrieve and
play at least one other of the plurality of electronic games,
each of the plurality of electronic games being different
from the others and providing a score that does not
affect the block of time granted, and (ii) determine a
total amount of a payment or credit owed for ...