Inventio AG v. Thyssenkrupp Elevator Corporation
MEMORANDUM OPINION re 394 MOTION for Summary Judgment of Invalidity of the '465 and '861 Patents, 413 MOTION for Partial Summary Judgment of No Invalidity for Indefiniteness, Wirtten Description and Best Mode. Signed by Judge Richard G. Andrews on 12/13/2013. (ksr, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
Civil Action No. 08-00874-RGA
AMERICAS CORPORATION, et. al.,
Michael J. Flynn, Esq., Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP, Wilmington, DE; Pierre R. Yanney,
Esq. (argued), Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, New York, NY; Stephen E. Underwood, Esq.,
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, New York, NY, Attorneys for the Plaintiff.
James M. Lennon, Esq., Young, Conaway, Stargatt & Taylor LLP, Wilmington, DE; David E.
Schmit, Esq. (argued), Frost Brown & Todd LLC, Cincinnati, Ohio, Attorneys for the Defendants.
Presently before the Court for disposition are Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment oflnvalidity of U.S. Patent No. 6,935,465 and 6,892,861 ("'465 Patent" and "'861
Patent" respectively) (D.I. 394), and Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment of No
Invalidity for Indefiniteness, Written Description, and Best Mode. (D.I. 413). These motions
have been fully briefed (D.I. 414,441,466,395,402,420,444, 446) and the Court held oral
argument on November 15, 2013. (D.I. 492, "Tr."). For the reasons set forth herein, the
Defendants' motion is DENIED and the Plaintiff's motion is GRANTED IN PART AND
DENIED IN PART.
On November 21, 2008, Inventio ("Plaintiff') filed this patent infringement action against
ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas Corp., ThyssenKrupp Elevator Corp., and ThyssenKrupp
Elevator Manufacturing, Inc. ("Defendants"). (D.I. 1). Plaintiff asserts claims 1, 2, 3 and 10 of
the '465 patent, and claims 1, 2, 3, and 11 ofthe '861 patent. (D.I. 65 at 14).
Claim 1 of the '465 Patent is representative of the '465 Patent and reads:
A method of modernizing an elevator installation having at least one elevator
controlled by at least one elevator control by way of at least one call report,
a. installing at least one floor terminal at each floor served by an elevator
controlled by an elevator control for at least one of the input of
destination call reports and for recognition of identification codes of
b. installing at least one computing unit and connecting the at least one
computing unit to said floor terminals for at least one of evaluating the
destination call reports and association of destination floors with
recognized [ones] of the identification codes and for the output of at
least one destination signal; and
c. installing at least one modernizing device and connecting the at least
one modernizing device to said floor terminals and said at least one
computing unit for reading the destination signal, for converting the
destination signal into at least one call report and for controlling the
elevator control by way of the call report.
U.S. Patent No. '465 col. 11: 6-25. Claim 1 of the '861 Patent is representative of the
'861 Patent and reads:
A device for temporarily operating an elevator installation during modernization,
the elevator installation having at least one elevator and at least one elevator control
for controlling the elevator in response to call reports generated by [hall] call
transmitters and car call transmitters, comprising:
a modernizing device temporarily connected to the elevator control
controlling the elevator in response to the call reports, the elevator control
being disconnected from the [hall] call transmitters and the car call
transmitters of the elevator installation; and
at least one computing unit connected to said modernizing device for
generating at least one destination signal to said modernizing device, said
modernizing device converting said destination signal into a call report and
generating said call report to the elevator control for controlling the elevator.
U.S. Patent No. '861 col. 11: 6-21.
"The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.
R. Civ. P. 56(a). A "material fact" is one that "could affect the outcome" of the proceeding.
See Lamont v. New Jersey, 63 7 F .3d 177, 181 (3d Cir. 2011 ). The moving party bears the
burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574,586 n.IO (1986). However, "the burden on the
moving party may be discharged" if it can show "that there is an absence of evidence to support
the nonmoving party's case." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,325 (1986). The court
will "draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, and it may not make
credibility determinations or weigh the evidence." Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc.,
530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).
If the moving party is able to demonstrate an absence of disputed material facts, the
nonmoving party then "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,249 (1986); see also Matsushita, 475 U.S.
at 587. The mere existence of some evidence in support ofthe nonmoving party, however, will
not be sufficient for denial of a motion for summary judgment. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249.
Rather, the nonmoving party must present enough evidence to enable a jury to reasonably find
for it on that issue. Id
If the nonmoving party fails to make a sufficient showing on an
essential element of its case with respect to which it has the burden of proof, the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter oflaw. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322.
The Defendants move the Court to find that the '861 and the '465 Patents are indefinite
and fail to meet the written description requirement. Conversely, the Plaintiff moves the Court
to find that the '861 and the '465 Patents are not indefinite, satisfy the written description
requirement, comply with the best mode requirement, and that the Court does not have subject
matter jurisdiction regarding the term "advance selector."
A patent claim must "particularly point out and distinctly claim the subject matter
which the inventor or a joint inventor regards as the invention." 35 U.S.C. § 112. A patent
claim that fails to comply with this requirement is indefinite and therefore invalid. Personalized
Media Commc'ns, LLC v. Int'l Trade Comm'n, 161 F.3d 696,705 (Fed. Cir. 1998). "The test
for definiteness is whether one skilled in the art would understand the bounds of the claim when
read in light of the specification. If the claims read in light of the specification reasonably
apprise those skilled in the art of the scope of the invention, § 112 demands no more." Miles
Labs., Inc. v. Shandon Inc., 997 F.2d 870, 875 (Fed. Cir. 1993) (internal citation omitted).
"Because a claim is presumed valid, a claim is indefinite only if the 'claim is insolubly
ambiguous, and no narrowing construction can properly be adopted.'" Honeywell Int'l, Inc. v.
Int'l Trade Comm'n, 341 F.3d 1332, 1338-39 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (quoting Exxon Research & Eng'g
Co. v. United States, 265 F.3d 1371, 1375 (Fed. Cir. 2001)). "A determination of claim
indefiniteness is a legal conclusion that is drawn from the [C]ourt' s performance of its duty as
the construer of patent claims." Personalized Media Commc 'ns, LLC, 161 F.3d at 705.
The Defendants argue that claims 1 through 9 1 ofthe '861 Patent are indefinite because
"claim 1 requires that the hall call and car call transmitters must still be physically present and
functionally connected as a 'necessary claimed component of the claimed invention,' since their
output, 'the call reports,' are being used elsewhere by other components in the body of the
claim," while at the same time the claim requires that the elevator control be disconnected from
the hall call and car call transmitters. (D.I. 395 at 14). In opposition, the Plaintiff argues the
preamble to claim 1 of the '861 Patent "refers to the state of the existing elevator system, prior to
modernization, before the patented interface equipment has been installed. Meanwhile, the
body of the claim refers to the state of the elevator system after the patented interface equipment
The Defendants in their brief argue that claims I through 9 of the '861 patent are invalid as indefmite; however,
the Plaintiff has only asserted claims 1, 2, 3, and 11 of the '861 Patent. The Court opines only about the asserted
has been installed .... " (D.I. 414 at 12 (emphasis omitted)). Furthermore, the Plaintiff
contends that, "The claim clearly contemplates those two different timeframes- pre-installation
of the patented interface equipment (preamble) and post-installation of the patented interface
equipment (body)." !d. The Court agrees with the Plaintiff.
Both the plain reading of the patent claims and the patent specification support the
Court's finding that the claims 1, 2, and 3 of the '861 patent are not indefinite. 2 The Court
interprets the preamble to claim 1 of the '861 Patent as referring to the state of the elevator prior
to modernization, while the body of the claim describes the specific modernizing device that the
patentee seeks to capture. U.S. Patent No. '861 col. 11: 6-21. This conclusion is supported, not
only by the plain reading of the claim language, but by the patent specification. The
specification, in Figures 1 and 2, lays out the difference between the preamble and the body of
the claim. First, Figure 1 of the '861 Patent, labeled "Prior Art," corresponds with the preamble
of claim 1 and depicts an elevator prior to modernization. Second, Figure 2 of the '861 Patent,
which is described in the specification as "show[ing] the portion of the elevator installation
according to FIG. 1 at the conclusion of preparatory operations for modernization including
installing the device according to the present invention ... ,"depicts the claimed invention. !d.
at col. 3: 64-67. Thus, claim 1 of the '861 Patent is not insolubly ambiguous.
The Defendants argue that, "The actions of Inventio before the United States Patent
Office (USPTO) further show that the preamble portion of the claim requires the continued
presence of the hall call transmitters and the car call transmitters." (D.I. 395 at 9). The
Defendants argue that the patentee's actions in front of the USPTO created prosecution history
estoppel. Id at 12. The Court disagrees. The purpose of the amendment was to emphasize
Claims 2 and 3 are dependent claims of claim 1.
that the device claimed was to be temporarily attached, as compared with the prior art reference
asserted by the patent examiner, U.S. Patent No. 5,260,526, which discussed the addition of
permanent controls. (D.I. 402-2 at 62). Thus, as a disavowal of claim scope "must be both
clear and unmistakable to one of ordinary skill in the art," Elbex Video, Ltd v. Sensormatic
Electronics Corp., 508 F.3d 1366, 1371 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (quoting Omega Eng'g, Inc, v. Raytek
Corp., 334 F.3d 1314, 1326 (Fed. Cir. 2003)) (internal quotation marks omitted), the Plaintiffs
actions in front of the USPTO do not estop the Plaintiff from arguing that the preamble to the
claim term represents the state of the elevator system prior to modernization.
The Defendants argue that all of the claims of the '465 Patent and the '861 Patent are
invalid as the Court has construed "elevator installation" to be "a group of elevators that convey
passengers in a building ... ," while "at the same time, each of the independent claims of the
Inventio patents also requires 'at least one elevator."' (D .I. 3 95 at 17 -18). In other words, the
Defendants argue that, "[T]he claim requirement that the 'elevator installation' must have more
than one elevator is insolubly inconsistent with the co-existing claim requirement that only one
elevator is necessary." Id at 18. The Plaintiff argues that when the Court construed "elevator
installation" it "was not determining a specific number of elevators that must be present in the
installation. Rather, the issue was whether the claims required 'each elevator to be controlled by
its own elevator control,' or if 'one elevator control for the group of elevators' would suffice."
(D.I. 414 at 14 (emphasis and brackets omitted)). The Court agrees with the Plaintiff. The
Court's construction of "elevator installation" addressed whether each elevator required its own
elevator control, not whether the claim term required multiple elevators. (D.I. 135 at 34-38).
Furthermore, to the extent that there is one claim limitation requiring a group (i.e., two or
more) of elevators and a second claim limitation requiring at least one elevator, the claim does
not become insolubly ambiguous. For example, a building that has exactly one elevator could
not meet both limitations, but a building that has two elevators could meet them both.
"Hail Car" vs. "Hall Car"
The Defendants additionally argue that the patent claims' initial use of the word "hail"
rather than "hall''3 prevent the patent from being enforced prior to the issuance of the Certificate
of Correction. (D.I. 395 at 11-13). The Defendants cite to Southwest Software, Inc., v.
Harlequin, Inc., as support for their argument, stating that Southwest Software establishes that "a
certificate of correction is only effective for causes of action arising after it was issued." (D.I. at
16 (quoting Southwest Software, Inc. v. Harlequin, Inc., 226 F.3d 1280, 1294-95 (Fed Cir. 2002).
The Plaintiff responds that the "erroneous word 'hail,' rather than the correct word 'hall,['] was
an 'obvious typographical error,' which any person of ordinary skill in the art would have
recognized." (D.I. 414 at 16).
"A district court can correct a patent only if (1) the correction is not subject to reasonable
debate based on consideration of the claim language and the specification and (2) the prosecution
history does not suggest a different interpretation of the claims." Novo Indus., L.P. v. Micro
Molds Corp., 350 F.3d 1348, 1357 (Fed. Cir. 2003). Here the word "hail" is a clear
typographical error. Other than the two instances in claim 1 of the '861 Patent, "hail" appears
nowhere else in the patent specification. Additionally, the use of the term "hail" instead of
"hall" was the result of an error on the part ofthe USPTO, not the Patentee. (D.I. 414-1 at 277).
Inventio filed a request for a Certificate of Correction to change "hail" to "hall" in two places in Claim I of the
'861 patent on October 10,2008. (D.I. 402-2 at 96). The Certificate of Correction was granted and issued on
November 18, 2008. (D.I. 402-1 at 47).
Furthermore, this Court has previously found that, "[T]he term 'hall call' constituted a standard
industry term whose meaning would be apparent to a person of ordinary skill in the art." (D.I.
135 at 89). And, finally, this Court found that the inclusion of the term "hail" instead of"hall"
would have been immediately apparent as a mistake to a person of ordinary skill in the art. 4 !d.
at 88. Therefore, Claims 1, 2, and 3 of the' 861 Patent are not invalid as indefinite because of
the use of the term "hail" prior to November 18, 2008.
B. Written Description Requirement
A patent "shall contain a written description of the invention, and of the manner and
process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any
person skilled in the art to which it pertains ... to make and use the same .... " 35 U.S.C. §
112. For the written description to be sufficient it must "clearly allow persons of ordinary skill
in the art to recognize that [the patentee] invented what is claimed." Vas-Cath Inc. v. Mahurkar,
935 F.2d 1555, 1563 (Fed. Cir. 1991). "In other words, the test for sufficiency is whether the
disclosure of the application relied upon reasonably conveys to those skilled in the art that the
inventor had possession of the claimed subject matter as of the filing date." Ariad Pharm., Inc.
v. Eli Lilly & Co., 598 F.3d 1336, 1351 (Fed. Cir. 2010). The Federal Circuit has determined
that the test for possession "requires an objective inquiry into the four corners of the
specification from the perspective of a person of ordinary skill in the art. Based on that inquiry,
the specification must describe an invention understandable to that skilled artisan and show that
the inventor actually invented the invention claimed." !d. Compliance with the written
The Defendants point the Court's attention to the Court's previous ruling on June 15,2010 in which the Court
stated that the term "hail call" was indefinite. (D.I. 135 at 87-88). However, the court made this statement in its
determination that the claim term had not been improperly broadened by the Certificate of Correction. !d. In
context, what was meant was that "hail call" has no meaning, just as a misspelled word has no meaning. Once the
obvious typo is corrected, the term has meaning.
description requirement is a question of fact. See Tech. Licensing Corp. v. Videotek, Inc., 545
F.3d 1316, 1332 (Fed. Cir. 2008).
The Defendants contend that claim 11 ofthe '861 Patent and claim 1 ofthe '465 Patent
are invalid because they fail to properly describe the term "reading." (D.I. 441 at 7). The
Defendants argue that, "The only description in the Inventio patents relating to 'reading' the
destination signal is 'for example, the destination signal is transmitted to the device 36, 36' in
accordance with at least one communication protocol of the data bus 3 7 and is read by the device
36, 36'." /d. (quoting Patent '861 col. 7: 53-56) (brackets omitted). Conversely, the Plaintiff
contends that the specification makes clear that the "'modernizing device ... reads the
destination signal' simply means that the modernizing device receives (i.e., 'gets') the
destination signal." (D.I. 466 at 4 (brackets omitted)). The Court agrees. It is evident from
the four comers of the patent that the written description provides sufficient description of the
term "reading" to be understandable to one skilled in the art and to demonstrate that the patentee
had in fact invented the claim in question. 5
The Defendants argue that the written description does not sufficiently describe the term
"destination signal" and is therefore invalid. (D.I. 395 at 19). Specifically, the Defendants
argue that, as per the Court's claim construction of the term "destination signal," 6 the written
While the parties discuss several expert reports, they are irrelevant to the decision, as it is apparent from the four
corners of the patent that the term "read" was meant by the patentee to mean receive or get, which would be obvious
to a POSA. However, even if the Court were to consider the expert reports, both parties' expert reports provide
further confirmation that there is no genuine dispute of fact. (D.I. 414 at 18).
The Court adopted the "Plaintiff's proposed construction that 'destination signal' means 'a data signal providing
passenger conveying information that identifies the boarding floor and/or the destination floor."' (D.I. 135 at 72).
description does not describe "the full scope of the 'destination signal,'" which would require a
description of"(1) the boarding floor, or (2) the destination floor, or (3) the boarding floor and
the destination floor." (D.I. 395 at 19). Conversely, the Plaintiff responds that "the claims do
not require a single destination signal that has both pieces of information," but instead only that
"the computing unit outputs at least one destination signal." (D .I. 414 at 19 (internal quotation
marks, emphasis, and brackets omitted)).
The written description is adequate to show that the patentee had possession of the
"destination signal" at the time of patenting. Specifically, the patentee properly described both
a destination signal that contained a boarding floor and a destination signal that included a
destination floor. (D.I. 395 at 19). While the patentee did not describe a destination signal that
contained both a boarding floor and destination floor at the same time, this is not needed as a
matter of law when each of the components is concededly described. Here, the claim itself is
satisfied by the disjunctive "or" and thus the patentee sufficiently described the claim term
The Defendants argue that both the '465 and the '861 Patents are invalid as they do not
disclose the "timing relationship between the first and second destination signals in the
modernizing device." (D.I. 395 at 22) The Defendants cite to Plaintiff's technical expert, Dr.
Koopman, as evidence that the specification must describe the "timing relationships." Jd at 17
("Inventio, through its technical expert, Dr. Koopman, ... has taken the position that 'convert,'
as used in the Inventio patent claims, means that the modernizing device must be able to
'convert' the destination signal in such a way that the call reports ... are coordinated and occur
in a certain carefully orchestrated time sequence."). However, as the Plaintiff properly points
out (D.I. 414 at 19-20), the patent claims do not refer to any such timing requirement and thus, as
a matter of law, there is no violation of the written description requirement.
C. Best Mode
A patentee must set forth the best mode of his/her invention.7 Eli Lilly & Co. v. Barr
Labs., Inc., 251 F.3d 955, 963 (Fed. Cir. 2001). "The best mode requirement creates a statutory
bargained-for-exchange by which a patentee obtains the right to exclude others from practicing
the claimed invention for a certain time period, and the public receives knowledge of the
preferred embodiments for practicing the claimed invention." Id
In order to determine
whether the best mode requirement is met the Federal Circuit has laid out a two-prong inquiry.
First, the factfinder must determine whether, at the time of filing the application,
the inventor possessed a best mode for practicing the invention. Second, if the
inventor possessed a best mode, the factfinder must determine whether the written
description disclosed the best mode such that one reasonably skilled in the art could
practice it. The first prong involves a subjective inquiry, focusing on the inventor's
state of mind at the time of filing. The second prong involves an objective inquiry,
focusing on the scope of the claimed invention and the level of skill in the art.
!d. (internal citations omitted). "Whether a [patentee] has complied with the best mode
requirement ... is a question of fact .... " Bayer AG v. Schein Pharm., Inc., 301 F.3d 1306,
1312 (Fed. Cir. 2002).
First, the Plaintiff argues that there is "absolutely no evidence that the inventor, Dr.
Friedli, had a subjective preference for one mode of implementing the modernizing device over
all others." (D.I. 414 at 20). The Plaintiff supports this claim with citations to the inventor's
testimony. Id at 20-21. Second, the Plaintiff argues that Dr. Friedli selected the components
The "best mode" requirement was eliminated as a basis for challenging validity as of September 16, 20 II. 3 5
U.S.C. §282(b)(3)(A). There is no suggestion that inventors can retroactively claim the benefit ofthis change in the
that he used to make the prototype, because he "already had these components," along with the
relevant quality records regarding their use, and "they were the cheapest components available to
perform the required functions .... " (D.I. 414 at 22) (internal quotation marks omitted). The
Defendants counter by arguing that the patentee did have a subjectively preferred best mode, as
indicated by his creation of a prototype. (D.I. 441 at 12-14). The patentee's testimony could
be read as suggesting he had a best mode, and is therefore sufficient to create a genuine issue of
D. Subject Matter Jurisdiction
The Plaintiff argues that the Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over whether
there is a best mode violation regarding the term "advance selector" as found in claims 9 and 13
ofthe '465 Patent and claims 6 and 9 ofthe '861 Patent. (D.I. 414 at 23). The Defendants
conceded at oral argument that the Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over these
claims as they are not at issue in this case. (Tr. 72-74). The Court agrees. Claims 6 and 9 of
the '861 Patent and claims 9 and 13 of the '465 Patent have not been asserted in this case and
therefore the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over them.
For the reasons above, the Court will DENY Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
ofinvalidity and GRANT IN PART AND DENY IN PART Plaintiffs Motion for Summary
Judgment ofNo Invalidity for Indefiniteness, Written Description, and Best Mode. Plaintiff
will be granted summary judgment on indefiniteness and written description, and denied
summary judgment on best mode. Best mode arguments relating to "advance selector" are not
properly before the Court, and will not be further considered. A separate order will be entered.
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