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Matterport Inc. v. GEOCV, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

January 3, 2020

MATTERPORT, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
GEOCV, INC, Defendant.

          Jack B. Blumenfeld and Stephen J. Kraftschik, MORRIS, NICHOLS, ARSHT & TUNNELL LLP, Wilmington, DE; Clement Roberts, ORRICK, HERRINGTON & SUTCLIFFE LLP, San Francisco, CA; and Alyssa Caridis and Geoffrey Moss, ORRICK, HERRINGTON & SUTCLIFFE, Los Angeles, CA, Attorneys for Plaintiff.

          Karen L. Pascale and Robert M. Vrana, YOUNG CONAWAY STARGATT & TAYLOR LLP, Wilmington, DE; and Casey A. Kniser, ZUBER LAWLER & DEL DUCA LLP, Los Angeles, CA, Attorneys for Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ANDREWS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is the issue of claim construction of various terms in U.S. Patent Nos. 8, 879, 828 ("the '828 patent"), 8, 861, 840 ("the '840 patent"), 9, 165, 410 ("the '410 Patent"), 9, 171, 405 ("the '405 Patent"), 9, 953, 111 ("the '111 Patent"), and 10, 030, 979 ("the '979 Patent"). I have considered the Parties' Joint Claim Construction Brief. (D.I. 49). I heard oral argument on January 2, 2020. (D.I. 51).

         I. BACKGROUND

         The '840 and '405 Patents describe and claim technology for building three-dimensional scenes that represent a physical space. (D.I. 46, Ex. C at 1:49-2:30). The claimed techniques involve capturing three-dimensional image data from multiple locations and aligning that data into a single three-dimensional scene. (Id.) This technology might be used, for example, by someone who uses a 3D camera to collect 3D data of the interior of a house or apartment. The '840 and '405 Patents aim at solving a problem that arises when the image capture process leads to errors. The parties agree that these errors show up in the form of "holes," missing or poor-quality data that remains after three-dimensional image data has been collected.

         The '410 patent describes and claims a system and techniques for the "capture and alignment of multiple 3D scenes." (D.I. 46, Ex. D at 1:55-56). Data comprising 3D scenes captured at different locations are aligned into a composite 3D scene. (Id. at 2:1-12, 6:20-23). The independent claims of the '410 Patent each contain the term "spatial distortion" and identify the term as something "applied" to sets of three-dimensional data; a transformation that results in an aligned 3D scene. For example, Claim 1 talks about "receiving... two or more sets of three-dimensional data respectively comprising points in a three-dimensional coordinate space" and then "determining ... a spatial distortion to be applied to at least one set of the two or more sets...."(Mat 14:3-5;13-15).

         The '111 patent deals with data that could lead to an automated generation of 3D models of real-world locations such as houses, apartments, and office spaces. For example, flat surfaces such as walls and floors are distinctive and could be identified as such. Missing data or "holes" associated with flat surfaces can be generated to fill in the missing 3D data. See generally, D.I. 46, Ex. Fat 3:9-28.

         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) (internal quotation marks 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) (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, 977-80 (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 (internal quotation marks omitted).

         "[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 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). "[T]he ordinary meaning of a claim term is its meaning to [an] ordinary artisan after reading the entire patent." Id. at 1321 (internal quotation marks omitted). "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 (internal quotation marks omitted). 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 and internal quotation marks omitted).

         III. CONSTRUCTION OF ...


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