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T-Jat Systems 2006 Ltd. v. Expedia, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

August 21, 2019

T-JAT SYSTEMS 2006 LTD., Plaintiff,


         Presently before the Court is the issue of claim construction of multiple terms in U.S. Patent Nos. 8, 064, 434 ("the '434 patent) and 9, 210, 142 ("the '142 patent") (collectively, "the asserted patents).[1] I have considered the parties' joint claim construction chart and brief. (D.I. 102, 110). I heard oral argument on June 20, 2019. (D.I. 118).

         A. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed this action on July 7, 2016 against Defendants for infringement of the '434 and '142 patents. (D.I. 1). Plaintiff alleges infringement of claim 1 of the '434 patent and claims 1, 9, and 12 of the' 142 patent. Claim 1 of the '434 patent is representative for the purposes of this opinion.

         Claim 1 provides:

1. A method for providing a user of a telephone device with a capability to use Internet-based applications, which method comprises the steps of:
transmitting from said telephone device an indication towards a first server, denoting a request to be connected to an Internet-based application residing at a second server;
providing said user with a menu from which the user selects a requested Internet-based application;
after selecting an application, establishing a communication path that extends between said telephone device and said second server via said first server;
at said first server, creating a virtual client entity specific to said telephone device and said Internet-based application to be used, created specifically to allow communication between said telephone device and said Internet-based application residing at said second server, and maintained only for the duration of a communication session that is about to take place between said user and said Internet-based application, thereby providing the user of said telephone device with the capability to use said Internet-based application; and
exchanging communications between said second server and said telephone device.

'434 patent at 8:11-34.[2]


         "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) (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 F.3d at 1315.

         "[T]he 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.

         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).


         1. "telephone device"

         a. Plaintiff's Proposed Construction: plain and ordinary meaning, or alternatively, "a telephone (e.g., a mobile phone) with the ability to communicate over the Internet"

         b. Defendants' Proposed Construction: "a cellular telephone that cannot communicate directly with Internet-based applications"[3]

         c. Court's Construction: plain ...

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