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TQ Delta, LLC v. 2Wire, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

August 24, 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., Defendants. ADTRAN, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
TQ DELTA, LLC, Defendant.

          Brian E. Faman, Esq., FARNAN LLP, Wilmington, DE; Michael J. Farnan, Esq., FARNAN LLP, Wilmington, DE; Peter J. McAndrews, Esq. (argued), Rajendra A. Chiplunkar, Esq. (argued), MCANDREWS, HELD & MALLOY Chicago, IL. Attorneys for Plaintiff TQ Delta, LLC.

          Jody Barillare, Esq., MORGAN LEWIS & BOCKIUS LLP, Wilmington, DE; Brett M. Schuman, Esq. (argued), GOODWIN PROCTOR LLP, San Francisco, CA; Douglas Kline, Esq. (argued), GOODWIN PROCTOR LLP, Boston, MA. Attorneys for Defendant 2WIRE, Inc.

          Kenneth L. Dorsney, Esq., MORRIS JAMES LLP, Wilmington, DE. Attorney for Defendants Adtran Inc. and Zyxel Communications Inc.

          Ross R Barton, Esq., ALSTON & BIRD, Charlotte, NC; Davis W. Holt, Esq., BRADLEY ARANT BOULT & CUMMINGS LLP, Huntsville, AL. Attorneys for Defendant Adtran Inc.

          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. 7, 451, 379 ("the '379 patent"), 8, 516, 337 ("the '337 patent"), 7, 979, 778 ("the '778 patent"), and 7, 925, 958 ("the '958 patent"). The Court has considered the parties' joint claim construction brief (Civ. Act. No. 13-01835-RGA, D.I. 374; Civ. Act. No. 13-02013-RGA, D.I. 363; Civ. Act. No. 14-00954-RGA, D.I. 218; Civ. Act. No. 15-00121-RGA, D.I. 220).[1] The Court heard oral argument on January 10, 2018. (D.I. 463 ("Tr.")).

         I. BACKGROUND

         The patents-in-suit represent "Family 5" of the patents that Plaintiff has asserted against Defendants. (See D.I. 374 at 11). They all share a common specification. (Id.). The patents relate to anomaly detection in communications systems. (E.g., '379 patent, 1:14-17).

         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. PATENTS-IN-SUIT

         Plaintiff asserts claims 11 and 16 of the '379 patent. Claim 16 depends from claim 15.

         Those claims read as follows:

11. A Cyclic Redundancy Checksum (CRC) anomaly counter normalization module designed to normalize a CRC anomaly counter based on a value for a CRC computation period (PERp), comprising
a CRC bit computation module designed to determine a local CRC octet based on a received bit stream;
a CRC bit comparison module designed to compare the local CRC octet to a received CRC octet; and
a CRC error reporting module designed to identify a CRC anomaly when the local CRC octet is not identical to the received CRC octet.

('379 patent, claim 11) (disputed terms italicized).

15. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein the normalizing of the CRC anomaly counter comprises incrementing the CRC anomaly counter by a value of M, wherein the value M is equal to PERp/K, and K is a positive integer.

(Id. at claim 15).

16. The apparatus of claim 15, wherein K is equal to 20 or 15.

(Id. at claim 16).

         Plaintiff also asserts claims 14 and 19 from the '958 patent. Claim 19 depends from claim 18. Those claims read as follows:

14. A Cyclic Redundancy Checksum (CRC) anomaly counter normalization system comprising:
a CRC bits computation module in a first transceiver capable of computing a CRC octet based on a transmit ted bit stream;
the first transceiver capable of transmitting the CRC octet to a second transceiver, a CRC bits computation module in the second transceiver capable of computing a local CRC octet based on a received bit stream;
a CRC bits comparison module capable of comparing the local CRC octet to a received CRC octet;
a CRC error module capable of identifying a CRC anomaly when the local CRC octet is not identical to the received CRC octet; and a normalization module capable of normalizing a CRC anomaly counter based on a value for a CRC computation period (PERp).

('958 patent, claim 14) (disputed terms italicized).

18. The system of claim 14, wherein the normalizing of the CRC anomaly counter comprises incrementing the CRC anomaly counter by a value of M wherein the value M is equal to PERp/K, where K is a positive integer.

(Id. at claim 18).

19. The system of claim 18, wherein K is equal to 20 or 15. (Id. at claim 19).

         Plaintiff further asserts claims 1 and 3 from the '778 patent. Claim 3 depends from claim 2. Those claims read as follows:

1. A method of reporting severely errored seconds (SES) in a consistent manner across a plurality of connections in a service provider network comprising:
computing a local CRC octet based on a received bit stream;
comparing, by a processor, the local CRC octet to a received CRC octet;
identifying a CRC anomaly when the local CRC octet is not identical to the received CRC octet; and
normalizing a CRC anomaly counter based on a value for a CRC computation period (PERp), wherein a Severely Errored Second is declared if there are more than N CRC anomalies in a second.

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

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the normalizing of the CRC anomaly counter comprises incrementing the CRC anomaly counter by a value of M, wherein the value M is equal to PERp/K, and K is a positive integer.

(Id. at claim 2) (disputed term italicized).

3. The method of claim 2, wherein K is equal to 20 or 15.

(Id. at claim 3).

         Finally, Plaintiff asserts claims 10 and 16 of the '337 patent. Claim 16 depends from claim 15. Those claims read:

10. An apparatus comprising:
a transceiver operable to normalize a CRC anomaly counter based on a value for a CRC computation period (PERp) and to declare a Severely Errored Second when there are more than N CRC anomalies in a period of time.

('337 patent, claim 10) (disputed terms italicized).

15. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the transceiver is operable to increment the CRC anomaly counter by a value of M wherein the value M is equal to PERp/K, where K is a positive integer.

(Id. at claim 15) (disputed term italicized).

16. The apparatus of claim 15, wherein K is equal to 20 or 15.

(Id. at claim 16).

         IV. CONSTRUCTION OF DISPUTED TERMS

         1. The Preamble of Claims 11 and 16 of the '379 Patent

         a. Plaintiff's proposed ...


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