General Electric Company v. Kontera Technologies Inc.
MEMORANDUM ORDER re claim construction and scheduling a Markman Hearing for 11/26/2013 at 3:00 PM in Courtroom 6B. Oral argument on the pending motions to stay will also be heard at that time. Signed by Judge Leonard P. Stark on 9/3/13. Associated Cases: 1:12-cv-00525-LPS, 1:12-cv-00526-LPS(ntl)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY,
KONTERA TECHNOLOGIES, INC.,
C.A. No. 12-525-LPS
GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY,
C.A. No. 12-526-LPS
VIBRANT MEDIA, INC.,
Pending before the Court is the issue of claim construction of various disputed terms of
U.S. Patent Nos. 6,092,074 ("the '074 patent") and 6,581,065 ("the '065 patent"). Also pending
are the parties' competing scheduling proposals for supplemental briefing in connection with the
disputed means-plus-function claim terms. As set forth below, the Court will resolve the parties'
scheduling disputes and construe the non-means-plus-function disputed claim terms.
Plaintiff General Electric Company ("GE") filed this patent infringement action
against Vibrant Media, Inc. ("Vibrant") on April27, 2012 alleging infringement of the '074
patent and the '065 patent. (C.A. No. 12-526 D.I. 1) On the same day, GE filed a patent
infringement action against Kontera Technologies Inc. ("Kontera"), alleging infringement of the
same '074 and '065 patents. (C.A. No. 12-525 D.I. 1) The '074 patent is a continuation of the
'065 patent, and both patents relate to automatic insertion of hypertext links in text articles.
The parties completed claim construction briefing on July 17, 2013. (C.A. No.
12-525-LPS D.I. 40, 42, 54, 49; C.A. No. 12-526-LPS D.I. 57, 58, 62, 63) The Court conducted
a Markman hearing on August 2, 2013. (See D.I. 58) During the hearing, the parties agreed to
meet and confer and to submit a proposal regarding supplemental briefing for the disputed
means-plus-function claim terms. On August 26, 2013, the parties submitted their competing
Having considered the scheduling proposals,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
Each party shall file supplemental claim construction briefs to address the
disputed means-plus function claim terms set forth in GE's August 7, 2013 means-plus-function
chart. Specifically, the parties shall simultaneously submit their opening supplemental briefs on
October 25, 2013. Openings briefs are limited to a maximum of fifteen (15) pages. The parties'
responsive briefs shall be filed on November 8, 2013. The responsive briefs shall be limited to
ten (1 0) pages.
In conjunction with addressing the disputed means-plus-function terms,
the parties' briefs should address the relevance, if any, ofthe PTAB's decision to institute inter
partes review of the asserted patents and GE's response (which is currently due on September 30,
A Markman hearing to further address the disputed means-plus-function
claim terms will be held on November 26, 2013 at 3:00PM. Each side will be allocated one (1)
hour for argument. At the same time, the Court will hear argument on the pending motions for a
stay. (C.A. No. 12-525 D.l. 38; C.A. No. 12-526 D.l. 54)
The parties have not requested supplemental briefing relating to the disputed non-
means-plus-function claim terms, and no such briefing is necessary. For these terms, the parties'
dispute largely comes down to a single issue: whether the claims must be construed narrowly so
as to correspond in scope to the embodiments described in the specifications of the asserted
patents. As the Federal Circuit has explained, "[e]ven when the specification describes only a
single embodiment, the claims of the patent will not be read restrictively unless the patentee has
demonstrated a clear intention to limit the claim scope using words or expressions of manifest
exclusion or restriction." Liebel-Flarsheim Co. v. Medrad, Inc., 358 F.3d 898, 906 (Fed. Cir.
2004) (internal quotation marks omitted), aff'd, 481 F.3d 1371 (Fed. Cir. 2007). Defendants
have failed to persuade the Court that such "words or expressions of manifest exclusion or
restriction" are present in the '074 and '065 patents.
Accordingly, after having considered the submissions ofthe parties and having
heard oral argument, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the disputed claim terms of the '074 patent
and the '065 patent shall be construed as follows: 1
"Class Codes," which appears in claims 1 and 7 ofthe '074 patent and claims 4
and 25 ofthe '065 patent, is construed to mean "codes that can designate or
identify a particular context or subject area, or control the number and type of a
'Where both the '074 and the '065 patents use identical words/phrases, those words/phrases will
be construed consistently.
"Major Class Codes," which appears in claims 3-5 and 9-11 ofthe '074 patent
and claims 17 and 18 of the '065 patent, is construed to mean "class codes that
can designate or identify a particular context or subject area."
"Preferred Major Class Codes," which appears in claims 3-5 and 9-11 ofthe
'074 patent and claims 17-19 and 38-40 ofthe '065 patent, is construed to mean
"major class code that is desired so as to bypass matching linkable character
strings with other major class codes."
"Hit Count Data," which appears in claim 9 of the '074 patent and claims 20 and
41 of the '065 patent, is construed to mean "data representing the number of times
a hypertext link or destination address associated with a linkable character string
"Intermittent Maintenance Mode," which appears in claims 3-5 and 9-11 of the
'074 patent and claims 17 and 18 ofthe '065 patent, is construed to mean "mode
for communicating and updating data at fixed or varying intervals."2
"Wherein the character strings have no associated hypertext link(s)," which
appears in claims 1 and 22 of the '065 patent, is construed to mean "wherein the
character strings are not already assigned a hypertext link(s), or are not themselves
a hypertext link(s), which can be automatically linked to a web site by software,
The Court adopts GE's proposed construction. Defendants' proposal- "an operational state of a
computer in which the state is switched to maintenance from another state periodically" - is
unhelpful because it defines "maintenance mode" as a mode in which the system alternates
between two other modes and is not consistent with the description in the specification.
such as email or a word processor."3
"Primary Computer," which appears in claims 1-4 and 7-9 ofthe '074 patent
and claims 1-5, 18, 22, and 23 ofthe '065 patent, does not require construction.
"Central Computer," which appears in claims 5, 9, and 11 of the '074 patent and
claims 12, 13, 19-21, 33, 34, and 40-42 of the '065 patent, does not require
"Associated with a I said Primary Computer," which appears in claims 1-4 and
7 ofthe '074 patent and claims 1-5, 18, 22, and 23 ofthe '065 patent, does not
"Associated with a I said Central Computer," which appears in claim 9 of the
'074 patent, does not require construction.
"Associated With At Least One Of Said Destination Addresses," which
appears in claims 1, 3, and 7 ofthe '074 patent and claims 1 and 22 of'065
patent, does not require construction. 4
"Which Are Associated With Said Plurality Of Linkable Character Strings I
Matching Linkable Character String Has A Plurality Of Class Codes
See, e.g., '074 patent at col. 15, 11. 43-44 ("[T]he article to be annotated 405 may be a text file
with no hyper/inks, or a file with conventional hyper/inks.") (emphasis added).
The Court does not agree with Vibrant that this term is indefinite. A claim is "sufficiently
definite to inform the public of the bounds of the protected invention" unless the term is
"insolubly ambiguous." Halliburton Energy Servs., Inc. v. M-1 LLC, 514 F.3d 1244, 1249-50
(Fed. Cir. 2008). Vibrant has failed to establish "by clear and convincing evidence that a skilled
artisan could not discern the boundaries of the claim based on the claim language, the
specification, and the prosecution history, as well as her knowledge of the relevant art area." Id.
Associated Therewith," which appear in claims 1 and 7 of the '074 patent and
claims 4 and 25 of '065 patent, do not require construction. 5
"Determining A Matching Linkable Character String For Said First
Character String, If Present, In Said Annotation Database," which appears in
claim 22 of the '065 patent, does not require construction.
"Querying Said Destination Database To Obtain The Plurality Of
Destination Addresses Corresponding To The Associated Class Codes,"
which appears in claim 25 of the '065 patent, does not require construction.
"Providing ... Anchor Code(s) Which Relate(s) Said Matching Linkable
Character String To Said ... Corresponding Destination Addresses To
Provide A ... Hypertext Link(s) For Said First Character String," which
appears in claims 24 and 25 of the '065 patent, does not require construction.
"Said Destination Database Comprises A Plurality Of Destination Addresses
Corresponding To Said Plurality Of Class Codes Of The Matching Linkable
Character String," which appears in claims 1 and 7 of the '074 patent and claims
4 and 25 of the '065 patent, does not require construction. 6
"Writing A Plurality Of Character Strings Into A Primary Computer File,"
which appears in claim 26 of the '065 patent, does not require construction.
"Qualifying The Matching Linkable Character String ... (Class Codes),"
The Court does not find this term to be indefinite.
Vibrant' s proposed construction - "said destination database stores a destination address for
each class code of the plurality of class codes of the matching linkable character string"- is
confusing and unhelpful.
which appears in claim 9 of the '074 patent and claim 38 of the '065 patent, does
not require construction.
Vibrant further proposes to narrow claim terms by requiring them to be performed
by the primary computer, including: receiving, writing, updating, qualifying, maintaining, and
transmitting. (See C.A. No. 12-526 D.I. 57 at 24) According to Vibrant, this limitation is
appropriate "because the specification describes no embodiment in which the functions are not
executed on the content server." (!d.) For the reasons provided above, this is not a proper basis
on which the Court can narrow the claims. Accordingly, the Court rejects Vibrant's proposal.
September 3, 2013
ATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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