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Data Engine Technologies LLC v. Google LLC

United States District Court, D. Delaware

December 9, 2019

DATA ENGINE TECHNOLOGIES LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
GOOGLE LLC, Defendant.

          BRIAN E. FARNAN, MICHAEL J. FARNAN, FARNAN LLP, WILMINGTON, DE

          AMIR ALAVI, DEMETRIOS ANAIPAKOS, ALISA A. LIPSKI, TIMOTHY SHELBY, SCOTT W. CLARK, MONICA UDDIN, NATHAN CAMPBELL, LOUIS LIAO, AHMAD, ZAVITSANOS, ANAIPAKOS, ALAVI & MENSING, P.C., HOUSTON, TX ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFFS

          FREDERICK L. COTTRELL, JASON J. RAWNSLEY, RICHARDS, LAYTON & FINGER, PA, WILMINGTON DE

          GREGORY P. STONE, ERIC P. TURTLE, ZACHARY M. BRIERS, HANNAH DUBINA, ASHLEY D. KAPLAN, MUNGER, TOLLES & OLSON LLP, LOS ANGELES, CA

          PETER A. DETRE, MUNGER, TOLLES & OLSON LLP, SAN FRANCISCO, CA ATTORNEYS FOR DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          STARK, U.S. District Judge.

         Presently before the Court is the issue of claim construction. Plaintiff Data Engine Technologies LLC ("Plaintiff) filed suit against Defendant Google LLC ("Defendant") on September 2, 2014, alleging infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 5, 590, 259 (the '"259 patent"), 5, 784, 545 (the '"545 patent"), and 6, 282, 551 (the '"551 patent"). (D.I. 1) The patents-in-suit generally relate to the use of notebook-type tabs to organize and display information in a multipage electronic spreadsheet. The parties completed briefing on September 10, 2019. (D.I. 300) The Court held a claim construction hearing on October 8, 2019. (D.I. 309 ("Tr."))

         BACKGROUND

         In 2015, the parties submitted claim construction briefing relating to disputed terms including "three dimensional spreadsheet." (See, e.g., D.I. 53, 87, 89) At that time, Plaintiff proposed construing "three dimensional spreadsheet" as "an electronic spreadsheet where information cells are referenced by three coordinates." (D.I. 53) Defendant proposed the plain and ordinary meaning or, in the alternative, "a computer-based spreadsheet having cells arranged in a 3D grid." (Id.) The parties later agreed that the term did not need construction.

         Subsequently, Defendant moved for judgment on the pleadings that the asserted claims of the patents-in-suit were ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. (D.I. 125) The Court granted Defendant's motion. (D.I. 263) Plaintiff appealed the entry of judgment on the pleadings to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. (D.I. 267) On October 9, 2018, the Federal Circuit concluded that, except for claim 1 of the '551 patent, the asserted claims of the '259, '545, and '551 patents are directed to patent-eligible subject matter. See Data Engine Techs. LLC v. Google LLC, 906 F.3d 999, 1011-13 (Fed. Cir. 2018). The Federal Circuit remanded the case for further consideration.

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         The ultimate question of the proper construction of a patent is a question of law. See Teva Pharm. USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc., 135 S.Ct. 831, 837 (2015) (citing Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., 517 U.S. 370, 388-91 (1996)). "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) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         "[T]here is no magic formula or catechism for conducting claim construction." Id. at 1324. Instead, the Court is free to attach the appropriate weight to appropriate sources "in light of the statutes and policies that inform patent law." Id.

         "[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 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). "[T]he ordinary meaning of a claim term is its meaning to the ordinary artisan after reading the entire patent." Id. at 1321 (internal quotation marks omitted). The patent specification "is always highly relevant to the claim construction analysis. Usually, it is ...


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