United States District Court, D. Delaware
before the Court is the issue of claim construction of
multiple terms in U.S. Patent Nos. 7, 969, 288 ("the
'288 patent"), 9, 323, 332 ("the '332
patent"), 6, 429, 846 ("the '846 patent"),
7, 982, 720 ("the '720 patent"), and 8, 031,
181 (the '181 patent"). I have considered the
parties' joint claim construction brief. (D.I. 67). I
heard oral argument on September 12, 2018. (D.I. 73).
August 3, 2017, Plaintiff brought this action against
Defendants alleging infringement of the '288, '332,
'846, '720, and '181 patents. (D.I. 1 ¶ 2).
Plaintiff asserts that Defendants licensed several of
Plaintiff s patents until November 2015. At that point,
Defendants allegedly declined to renew the license agreement
and the existing license expired. The parties agree that a
previous license agreement did exist and expire, and that the
agreement identified all the patents at issue, except the
'332 patent. (Id. ¶¶ 1-2; D.I. 9
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) (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). 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
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) (citation
PATENTS AT ISSUE
18 of the '288 patent reads (as amended by the February
10, 2014 Ex Parte Reexamination Certificate):
18. A software method in a multi-tasking environment
storing a plurality of data sets in memory, each data set
comprising a representation of one or more force effects,
wherein each one of the plurality of data sets is associated
with one software application;
calling an application programming interface;
determining which one of a plurality of concurrently running
application programs is active in the multi-tasking
generating a signal representing the data set associated with
the active application program.
('288 patent, claim 18 (emphasis added)).
of the '332 patent reads:
1. A software method in a multi-tasking environment
concurrently running a plurality of application programs,
wherein each application program includes one or more data
sets, each data set comprising a representation of one or
more force effects;
receiving from an active application program a force
generating a signal representing the force effect command;
and outputting a force effect based on the signal.
('332 patent, claim 1 (emphasis added)).
of the '846 patent reads (as corrected by the July 31,
2012 Certificate of Correction):
1. A haptic feedback touch control for inputting signals to a
portable computer and for outputting forces to a user of the
touch control, the touch control comprising:
a touch input device integrated in a housing of said
portable computer, said touch input device including
an approximately planar touch surface operative to
input a position signal to a processor of said computer based
on a location on said touch surface which said user contacts,
said position signal representing a location in two
dimensions, wherein said computer positions a cursor in a
graphical environment displayed on a display device based at
least in part on said position signal; and at least one
actuator coupled to said touch input device, said
actuator outputting a force on said touch input
device to provide a haptic sensation to said user
contacting said touch surface, wherein said actuator outputs
said force based on force information output by said
processor, said actuator outputting a force directly on
said touch input device.
('846 patent, claim 1 (emphasis added)).
claim 16 of the '846 patent reads (as corrected by the
July 31, 2012 Certificate of Correction):
16. A haptic feedback touch control as recited in claim 1
wherein said touch input device includes a plurality
of different regions, wherein at least one of said regions
provides said position signal and at least one other
region provides a signal that is used by said computer to
control a different function.
('846 patent, claim 16 (emphasis added)).
10 of the '720 patent reads (as amended by the February
18, 2014 Ex ...