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TQ Delta LLC v. 2Wire Inc.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

July 3, 2018

TQ DELTA, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
2WIRE, INC. Defendant. TQ DELTA, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
ZYXEL COMMUNICATIONS, INC and ZYXEL COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION, Defendants. TQ DELTA, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
ADTRAN, INC., Defendant. ADTRAN, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
TQ DELTA, LLC, Defendant.

          Brian E. Farnan, Esq., Michael J. Farnan, Esq., FARNAN LLP, Wilmington, DE; Peter J. McAndrews, Esq., Paul W. McAndrews, Esq., MCANDREWS, HELD & MALLOY, Chicago, IL; David Prange, Esq., ROBINS KAPLAN LLP, Minneapolis, MN; Attorneys for Plaintiff.

          Colm C. Connolly, Esq., Jody C. Barillare, Esq., MORGAN LEWIS & BOCKJUS LLP, Wilmington, DE; Kenneth L. Dorsney, Esq., MORRIS JAMES LLP, Wilmington, DE; Scott Burnett Smith, Esq., BRADLEY ARANT, Huntsville, AL; Ross Barton, Esq., ALSTON & BIRD LLP, Charlotte, NC; Garland T. Stephens, Esq., WEIL, GOTSHAL & MANGES LLP, Houston, TX. Attorneys for Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ANDREWS, U.S DISTRICT JUDGE

         Presently before the Court is the issue of claim construction of multiple terms in U.S. Patent Nos. 8, 462, 835 ("the '835 patent") and 8, 594, 162 ("the '162 patent"). The Court has considered the Parties' Joint Claim Construction Brief (Civ. Act. No. 13-01835-RGA, D.I. 459; Civ. Act. No. 13-02013-RGA, D.I. 443; Civ. Act. No. 14-00954-RGA, D.I. 298; Civ. Act. No. 15-00121-RGA; D.I. 299).[1] The Court heard oral argument on June 21, 2018.[2]

         I. BACKGROUND

         The patents-in-suit represent "Family 6" of the patents that Plaintiff has asserted against Defendants. (D.I. 459 at 1). The parties divide the contested patents into ten patent families. (e.g. D.I. 269). The Family 6 patents provide a "solution for impulse noise protection adaptation," namely, "features that improve a communication system's ability to deliver a sufficiently low error rate in the presence of impulse noise without (a) compromising high data rate and low latency performance more than necessary, or (b) requiring repeated and lengthy reinitialization procedures that interrupt steady-state data transmission." (D.I. 459 at 17, 20).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         "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. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303, 1312 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc) (internal quotation marks 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, 977-80 (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 (internal quotation marks omitted).

         "[T]he 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 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). "[T]he ordinary meaning of a claim term is its meaning to [an] ordinary artisan after reading the entire patent." Id. at 1321 (internal quotation marks omitted). "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.

         When a 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.

         "A 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) (citation omitted).

         III. TERMS FOR CONSTRUCTION

         The asserted '835 patent claims[3] read as follows:

8. An apparatus configurable to adapt forward error correction and interleaver parameter (FIP) settings during steady-state communication or initialization comprising:
a transceiver, including a processor, configurable to:
transmit a signal using a first FIP setting,
transmit a flag signal, and
switch to using for transmission, a second FIP setting following transmission of the flag signal,
wherein: the first FIP setting comprises at least one first FIP value,
the second FIP setting comprises at least one second FIP value, different than the first FIP value, and
the switching occurs on a pre-defined forward error correction codeword boundary following the flag signal.
10. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein a first interleaver parameter value of the first FIP setting is different than a second interleaver parameter value of the second FIP setting.

('835 patent, claims 8, 10) (disputed terms italicized). The asserted '162 patent claims[4] read as follows:

         8. A device comprising:

an interleaver configured to interleave a plurality of bits; and a transmitter portion coupled to the interleaver and configured to:
transmit using a first interleaver parameter value;
transmit a flag signal; and
change to transmitting using a second interleaver parameter value that is different than the first interleaver parameter value,
wherein the second interleaver parameter value is used for transmission on a predefined forward error correction codeword boundary following transmission of the flag signal.
9. The device of claim 8, wherein the flag signal is an inverted sync symbol.

('162 patent, claims 8, 9).

         The parties represented at oral argument that they agree to be bound by the Court's construction of ...


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