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Route1 Inc. v. AirWatch LLC

United States District Court, D. Delaware

July 25, 2018

ROUTE1 INC., Plaintiff,
v.
AIRWATCH LLC, Defendant.

          Dominick T. Gattuso, HEYMAN ENERIO GATTUSO & HIRZEL LLP, Wilmington, DE; Michael J. Garvin (argued), Marcel C. Duhamel, Aaron M. Williams, VORYS, SATER, SEYMOUR AND PEASE LLP, Cleveland, OH; William H. Oldach III, VORYS, SATER, SEYMOUR AND PEASE LLP, Washington, DC. Attorneys for Plaintiff

          Elena C. Norman, Anne Shea Gaza (argued), Samantha G. Wilson, YOUNG CONAWAY STARGATT & TAYLOR, LLP, Wilmington, DE; Cynthia D. Vreeland (argued), William F. Lee, Peter M. Dichiara, WILMER CUTLER PICKERING HALE AND DORR LLP, Boston, MA. Attorneys for Defendant

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Presently before the Court is the issue of claim construction of multiple terms in U.S. Patent No. 7, 814, 216 ("the '216 patent"). The Court has considered the parties' joint claim construction brief. (D.I. 63). The Court heard oral argument on July 2, 2018. (D.I. 76 ("Tr.")).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Route1 filed this patent infringement action against Defendant AirWatch on March 27, 2017. (D.I. 1).

         The patent-in-suit "relates to use of a host computer via a remote computer, and more particularly, is directed to enabling peer-to-peer communication between the host computer and remote computer over a communication network." ('216 patent, 1:7-10).

         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). '"[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.

         "[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. "[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.

         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 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.

         "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).

         III. PATENT-IN-SUIT

         The parties dispute seven terms in claim 1 of the '216 patent. That claim reads as follows:

         1. A method of enabling communication between a host and a remote device using a controller, comprising:

connecting the controller to the host;
connecting the controller to the remote device, the host and the remote device being in separate locations;
validating, at the controller, digital identity certificates received from each of the host and the remote device, each identity certificate containing (i) the public half of an asymmetric key algorithm key pair, (ii) identity information, and (iii) a digital signature of the issuing certificate authority, thereby converting the host to a validated host, and converting the remote device to a validated remote device;
receiving, at the controller, a selection of the host from the validated remote device;
sending parameters for the validated remote device from the controller to the selected host;
sending an instruction, from the controller to the selected host, to establish a connection to the remote device;
receiving, at the controller, notifications from the selected host and the validated remote device that a connection exists there between; and
after receiving notice of a connection between the selected host and the validated remote device refraining from involvement, at the controller, in transporting data between the selected host and the validated remote device, so that the selected host and the validated remote device subsequently communicate with each other without using any resource of the controller.

('216 patent, claim 1) (disputed terms italicized).

         IV. CONSTRUCTION OF DISPUTED TERMS

         1. "controller"

a. Route1 's proposed construction: "computer (including hardware and software) configured to assist a host and remote device in setting up a communications connection"
b. AirWatch 's proposed construction: "computer (including hardware and software), separate from the host, that assists the process of establishing a direct communication channel ...

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