United States District Court, D. Delaware
E. Farnan, FARNAN LLP, Wilmington, DE, Jonathan T. Suder
(argued), Corby R. Vowell, FRIEDMAN, SUDER & COOKE, Fort
Worth, TX Counsel for Plaintiff
M. Oakes (argued), FISH & RICHARDSON P.C., Wilmington, DE
Counsel for Defendant Maxim Integrated Products, Inc.
H. S. Levine, PEPPER HAMILTON LLP, Wilmington DE, Thomas F.
Fitzpatrick (argued), PEPPER HAMILTON LLP, Silicon Valley, CA
Counsel for Defendants Vishay Intertechnology Inc. and
CONNOLLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
patent infringement action filed by In-Depth Test, LLC
("Plaintiff') against Maxim Integrated Products,
Inc., Vishay Intertechnology Inc., and Siliconix Inc.
("Defendants"), I have before me the issue of claim
construction of a single term in U.S. Patent No. 6, 792, 373
("the '373 patent"). I have studied the
parties' briefs and joint claim construction chart. D.I.
51, D.I. 54, D.I. 56, D.I. 57, D.I. 58.I held a
Markman hearing on October 9, 2018.
'373 patent claims a method and apparatus for testing
semiconductors, including integrated circuits. Semiconductors
are typically produced in large batches on a
"wafer," a thin slice of semiconductor material
usually made of silicon; and they are extensively tested
during the manufacturing process for performance and
reliability. "Wafer-level" testing is performed
before a circuit is cut from the wafer and
"packaged" according to the customer's
application requirements. So-called "final testing"
of an integrated circuit is performed after the circuit is
packaged. The nub of the parties' dispute is whether the
'373 patent claims final testing apparatus or methods.
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 lnc., 2013
WL4758195, at *1 (D.Del. Sept. 4, 2013) (quoting
Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1324). Construing the claims
in a patent is a question of law. See Markman v. Westview
Instruments, Inc., 52 F.3d 967, 977-78 (Fed. Cir. 1995)
(en banc), affd, 517 U.S. 370, 388-90 (1996).
a patentee acts as his own lexicographer by setting forth a
special definition or disavows the full scope of a claim
term, the words in a claim are to be given their ordinary and
accustomed meaning. Thorner v. Sony Comput. Entm 't
Am. LLC, 669 F.3d 1362, 1365 (Fed. Cir. 2012).
"[T]he ordinary and customary meaning of a claim term 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." Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1313.
"[T]he person of ordinary skill in the art is deemed to
read the claim term not only in the context of the particular
claim in which the disputed term appears, but in the context
of the entire patent, including the specification."
Id. at 1313. "[T]he 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." Vitronics Corp. v.
Conceptronic, Inc., 90 F.3d 1576, 1582 (Fed. Cir.
court may also consider 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. "Extrinsic evidence is to be used for
the court's understanding of the patent, not for the
purpose of varying or contradicting the terms of the
claims." Markman, 52 F.3d at 981. "The
construction that stays true to the claim language and most
naturally aligns with the patent's description of the
invention will be, in the end, the correct
construction." Renishaw PLC v. Marposs Societa'
per Azioni, 158 F.3d 1243, 1250 (Fed. Cir. 1998).
parties agree on the constructions of the following terms in
the '373 patent: "outlier," "output
report," "test data / semiconductor test
data," "tester," and "at run time."
D.I. 51 at 2, D.I. 54 at 1, D.I. 56 at 5. The Court accepts
the parties' agreed-upon constructions for purposes of
CONSTRUCTION OF ...