We will be discussing one district court case regarding the sufficiency of evidence of direct patent infringement and one Federal Circuit case involving claim construction in our weekly SoCal IP Institute meeting on Monday, August 29, 2011. Brief synopses are presented below.
Mirror Worlds, LLC v. Apple, Inc., Case No. 06:08 CV 88 (E.D. Tex. April 4, 2011) (attached). Mirror Worlds is the owner of three patents that collectively cover a method and system of presenting files in a date-ordered “stream.” Mirror Worlds sued Apple alleging that Apple’s Time Machine and Coverflow capabilities infringed these three patents. Apple successfully removed the method claims from consideration under the doctrine of equivalents through judgment as a matter of law. At trial, the jury found that Apple practiced some of the method and system claims and granted monetary damages in the amount of $208.5 million for each patent.
After the verdict, Apple then renewed its motion for judgment as a matter of law of non-infringement. Apple asserted that Mirror Worlds had failed to provide any evidence of direct infringement of the method claims. Mirror Worlds countered that they had shown video of Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs demonstrating the use of Coverflow and Time Machine and that it was disingenuous of Apple to assert that functionality built-into every Apple computer was not being used by its customers. The court agreed with Apple that Mirror Worlds had failed to provide any evidence of direct infringement by consumers and that it had presented, at best, incomplete evidence of the method being practiced by Apple. Accordingly, it granted judgment as a matter of law for Apple as to the method claims.
As to the system claims, Apple’s contention was very similar. Namely, that Mirror Worlds had failed to provide evidence showing that each and every element of the system claims were found in the Apple software. At trial, Mirror Worlds was limited to a doctrine of equivalents argument because the claims did not read on the products identically. Mirror Worlds acknowledged that its expert failed to provide testimony on the “function, way, result test,” but asserted that the expert’s testimony of “insubstantial differences” was sufficient. These “insubstantial differences” were not described. The court agreed with Apple that the expert’s testimony was insufficient to establish infringement under the doctrine of equivalents and granted Apples JMOL motion.
The court then granted Apple’s JMOL motion of no willfulness because none of the claims were infringed and granted Apple’s JMOL motion to vacate the jury’s damages award. The court denied as moot Apple’s request for a new trial and denied Apple’s motions for invalidity and inequitable conduct findings.
August Tech. Corp. v. Camtek, Ltd., 2010-1458 (Fed. Cir. August 22, 2011) (attached). Camtek appealed the district court’s final judgment that it infringed U.S. Pat. No. 6,826,298, that the patent was not invalid, that it was not unenforceable, and the award of lost profits and a permanent injunction. Camtek primarily argued that a “plurality of wafers” claim limitation was improperly construed to mean, “a thin slice of semiconductor material with circuitry thereon that is ready for electrical testing, or any part thereof. However, a ‘wafer’ is not the same as a ‘die.’ A wafer is made up of multiple die[s].” Camtek argued that this construction effectively read dies out of the limitation and, thereby, made the term “wafer” too broad. The Federal Circuit agreed that the way the claim was drafted, requiring multiple wafers, did not require the court to construe the term “wafer” to encompass “or any part thereof” in its construction of the term. The court maintained the district court’s construction of the limitation “based on a velocity of the wafer” over Camtek’s protests. Thereafter, the Federal Circuit vacated the infringement holding, damages and injunction because they were based on an incorrect claim construction. However, all other holdings were affirmed.
All are invited to join us in our discussion during the SoCal IP Institute meeting on Monday, August 29, 2011 at Noon in our Westlake Village office. This activity is approved for 1 hour of MCLE credit. If you will be joining us, please RSVP to Amanda Jones by 9 am Monday morning.