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Use of Passive Voice Insufficient to Connote Structure in MPF Analysis

The District Court for the Northern District of California recently issued a claim construction order in Zoho Corporation v. Sentius International, LLC, finding that the claim limitation “means for compiling the source material image from at least the plurality of discrete pieces” was indefinite.  The present action arose from a declaratory judgement action brought about by Zoho alleging that it did not infringe Reissued Patent No. RE43,633.  While both parties agreed that 35 U.S.C. ¶ 6 (means-plus-function) applied, the parties diverged on the question of whether the specification disclosed sufficient structure for the compile function.  During a means-plus-function analysis, the court engages in a two-step inquiry to construe the claim limitations at issue as set forth in Williamson v. Citrix Online, LLC.  First, the court identifies the claimed function, and, second, the court determines “what structure, if any, disclosed in the specification corresponds to the claimed function.”  The Federal Circuit,…

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Lack of Algorithm in Specification Renders Means-Plus-Function Claim Indefinite

The Eastern District of Texas held that the only asserted claim of U.S. Patent No. 6,452,515 was indefinite because “the term ‘[means] for encoding these labels in a random order’” (alterations in original) invokes 35 USC § 112 ¶ 6, and “the specification of the ‘515 Patent does not disclose an algorithm for performing the encoding function required by this limitation.” Uniloc 2017 LLC v. Google LLC, No. 18-cv-00501-JRG-RSP (E.D.Tex. May 1, 2020). The asserted claim from the ‘515 Patent, claim 1, is reproduced here: 1. A video encoder for processing a sequence of animated pictures, said encoder comprising:      means for dividing a screen window occupied by said sequence into X rows and Y columns;      means for separately encoding each one of the X·Y parts of each picture of the sequence thus obtained; and      means for associating, to each of said parts, a specific label indicating a…

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Means-Plus-Function Claim Construction of “Customization Module” Results in Indefinite Finding

In William Grecia v. Samsung Electronics (Fed. Cir. 2019) the Federal Circuit affirmed a finding of invalidity for U.S. Patent 8,533,860 (the ‘860 patent) under 35 U.S.C. § 112, ¶2 (indefinite). The invalidly determination for the ‘860 patent was arrived at by the Court after a means-plus-analysis and invocation of 35 U.S.C. § 112, ¶6. Claim 21, the only claim at issue, recites: 21. A computer product comprising a memory, a CPU, a communications console and a non-transitory computer usable medium, the computer usable medium having an operating system stored therein, the computer product further comprising a customization module, the computer product authorizing access to digital content, wherein the digital content is at least one of an application, a video, or a video game, wherein the digital content is at least one of encrypted or not encrypted, the computer product configured to perform the steps of: receiving a digital content…

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Claim term “Processor” does not invoke MPF Construction

In a tentative ruling, a court held the claim term “processor” did not invoke means-plus-function construction and was not governed by 35 U.S.C. §112¶6. Realtime Adaptive Streaming LLC v. Adobe Systems Inc., No. cv 18-9344-GW(JCx) (C.D. CA, July 25, 2019. Plaintiff Realtime Adaptive Streaming LLC (“Realtime”) brought an action against Defendants Google LLC and YouTube LLC (collectively “Google Defendants”) alleging infringement of five Realtime patents. Realtime further filed suit against Defendant Adobe Systems Inc. (“Adobe”), alleging infringement of seven Realtime patents, including the five patents asserted against the Google Defendants. The court directed the parties to file consolidated claim construction briefs for certain disputed terms. The court conducted a hearing and issued a Tentative Ruling construing the disputed terms. Two of the patents asserted against Adobe, US 9,769,477 and US 9,762,907, included the claim term “processor.” Representative claim 1 of the ‘477 patent recites in part: 1. A system, comprising:…

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Specification Provides Insufficient Structure for MPF Claim

Granting summary judgement to a defendant accused of patent infringement, a court held two patent claims including the term “control unit” indefinite, finding the description in the specification of a “tone control circuit” did not provide sufficient structure to a person of skill in the art (POSITA) under 35 U.S.C. §112(6). Nichia Corp. v. VIZIO, Inc., No.: cv 8:16-0545 SJO (MRWx), (C.D. CA, March 13, 2019). Plaintiff Nichia Corp.alleged infringement of United States Patents Nos. 7,901,959, 7,915,631, 8,309,375, and 7,855,092 by Defendant VIZIO Inc. After a claim construction hearing, VIZIO filed a motion for summary judgement which the court granted-in part and denied-in-part. This post addresses the Court’s grant of summary judgment for VIZIO finding claims 1 and 12 of the ‘092 patent to be indefinite under 35 U.S.C. §112(6) for lack of sufficient structure in the specification for the claim term “control unit.” Plaintiff Nichia Corp.alleged infringement of United…

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