Hand Held Products Inc. v. Amazon.com Inc. et al
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS re #257 MOTION for Summary Judgment of Non-Infringement filed by A9 Innovations LLC, Quidisi Inc., AMZN Mobile LLC, A9.com Inc., Amazon.com Inc., AmazonFresh LLC, #282 MOTION for Leave to File Response to Improperly-Filed Surreply filed by A9 Innovations LLC, Quidisi Inc., AMZN Mobile LLC, A9.com Inc., Amazon.com Inc., AmazonFresh LLC. Please note that when filing Objections pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b)(2), briefing consists solely of the Objections (no longer than ten (10) pages) and the Response to the Objections (no longer than ten (10) pages). No further briefing shall be permitted with respect to objections without leave of the Court. Objections to R&R due by 2/8/2016. Signed by Judge Mary Pat Thynge on 1/21/16. (cak)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
HAND HELD PRODUCTS, INC.,
AMAZON.COM, INC., AMZN MOBILE
LLC, AMAZONFRESH LLC, A9.COM,
INC., A9 INNOVATIONS LLC, AND
C.A. No.: 12-768-RGA-MPT
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
This is a patent case. On June 18, 2012, Hand Held Products, Inc. (“HHP”) filed
suit alleging Amazon.com, Inc., AMZN Mobile LLC, AmazonFresh LLC, A9.com Inc., A9
Innovations LLC, and Quidsi, Inc. (collectively, “Amazon”) of infringing U.S. Patent No.
6,015,088 (“the ‘088 patent”).1 Currently before the court is Amazon’s motion for
summary judgment of non-infringement.2
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The ‘088 patent is titled “Decoding of Real Time Video Imaging.” “This invention
relates to image capturing apparatus, and more particularly to a method of capturing
and decoding bar code information in real time from a continuously displayed video
D.I. 1. On September 21, 2012, the parties submitted a Stipulated Order that HHP be permitted
to file a Supplemental Complaint. D.I. 11 (Stipulated Order); id., Ex. A (Supplemental Complaint). The
court granted that order on September 25, 2012.
signal of a particular target.”3 The abstract recites:
A process allows an image capturing apparatus to be integrated with a
personal computer to continuously display a video image of the imaging
apparatus. Upon proper input by a user, or automatically after a timed
interval, a snapshot of the video image is captured. An autodiscrimination
process of the captured video image automatically decodes any bar-coded
information present in the captured image and outputs the information.4
CLAIMS AT ISSUE
HHP asserts Amazon infringes independent claim 1 and claims 8, 10, and 12
which depend therefrom.5
Claim 1 recites:
1. A process for capturing and decoding bar-code information in
real time from a continuously displayed image video signal,
comprising the steps of:
aiming an imaging apparatus at a target of interest, said
target having at least one of optically readable and bar
coded information contained thereupon;
continually displaying a real time image of said target from
said imaging apparatus;
selectively capturing and storing an instantaneous image of
said target into the memory of a computer;
determining if bar-coded information is present in said stored
decoding bar-code information if bar-code readable
information is contained on said instantaneous stored image
while maintaining the display of said real-time image; and
outputting the decoded bar-coded information.
‘088 patent, 1:8-11.
‘088 patent, Abstract.
The court determined previously-asserted independent claim 22 and its dependent claim 23 are
invalid as indefinite and are not at issue in this motion. D.I. 222 at 37-44, 50-52.
A grant of summary judgment pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 56 is appropriate if
materials on the record, such a deposition, documents, electronically stored information,
admissions, interrogatory answers, affidavits and other like evidence show that there is
no genuine issue as to any material fact, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law.6 This standard is applicable to all types of cases, including patent
cases.7 The movant bears the burden of establishing the lack of a genuinely disputed
material fact by demonstrating “that there is an absence of evidence to support the
nonmoving party’s case.”8 “Facts that could alter the outcome are ‘material,’ and
disputes are ‘genuine’ if evidence exists from which a rational person could conclude
that the position of the person with the burden of proof on the disputed issue is correct.”9
“Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the
non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial.”10 In a patent case, “[s]ince the
ultimate burden of proving infringement rests with the patentee, an accused infringer
seeking summary judgment of noninfringement may meet its initial responsibility either
by providing evidence that would preclude a finding of infringement, or by showing that
the evidence on file fails to establish a material issue of fact essential to the patentee’s
case.”11 “An accused device cannot infringe, as a matter of law, if even a single
FED. R. CIV. P. 56 (a) and (c).
Johnston v. IVAC Corp., 885 F.2d 1574, 1576-77 (Fed. Cir. 1989).
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986).
Horowitz v. Fed. Kemper Life Assurance Co., 57 F.3d 300, 302 n.1 (3d Cir.1995) (internal
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (internal quotations
Novartis Corp. v Ben Venue Labs., Inc., 271 F.3d 1043, 1046 (Fed. Cir. 2001); see also
Techsearch L.L.C. v. Intel Corp., 286 F.3d 1360, 1369 (Fed. Cir. 2002) (“Summary judgment of
noninfringement is also appropriate where the patent owner’s proof is deficient in meeting an essential
limitation is not satisfied.”12 If an accused infringer demonstrates an absence of material
fact, the patent owner “must come forward with ‘specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.’”13
The court issued a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) construing the term
“selectively capturing . . . an instantaneous image” by construing the constituent terms
within that phrase: “selectively,” “capturing,” and “instantaneous image.”14 The court
construed “selectively” to mean “selected by the user based on the displayed image.”15
The court construed “capture” as “converting the live analog video signal into a single
digital image.”16 “[A]n instantaneous image” was construed to mean: “an instant in time
selected by the user based on the displayed image, converting the live analog video
signal into a single digital image that is output for storage into computer memory.”17
Based on those constructions, the court construed “selectively capturing . . . an
instantaneous image” to mean “at an instant in time selected by the user based on the
displayed image, converting the live analog video signal into a single digital image that
is output for storage into computer memory.”18
After considering HHP’s objections to the R&R’s construction, Judge Richard
part of the legal standard for infringement, because such failure will render all other facts immaterial.”).
Digital Biometrics, Inc. v. Identix, Inc., 149 F.3d 1335, 1349 (Fed. Cir. 1998).
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (quoting Fed. R.
Civ. P. 56(e)) (emphasis in original).
D.I. 222 at 24-29.
Id. at 24-26.
Id. at 26-28.
Id. at 28-29.
Id. at 56. This was the construction proposed by Amazon with the exception that Amazon’s
proposed construction included a “single digital frame” which the court changed to a “single digital image.”
Id. at 29.
Andrews rejected HHP’s arguments and adopted the construction of that term set forth
in the R&R.19 After that decision, HHP served revised infringement contentions which
purportedly demonstrate how the Accused Apps infringe under the court’s construction
of the “selectively capturing” term.
The accused products in this case are Amazon mobile applications (“Amazon
Apps”) which are loaded on consumers’ smartphones and used to find and purchase
Amazon products.20 One way the Amazon Apps can be used to find a product on
Amazon is by scanning the barcode on the product.21 The barcode scanning capability
of the Amazon Apps is what HHP accuses of infringing the ‘088 patent. That barcode
scanning capability is referred to as the “Accused Apps.”22
The devices on which the Amazon Apps are used run operating systems. Those
operating systems include Apple’s iOS operating system, Google’s Android operating
system, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system.23 An operating system is
a collection of software programs and libraries that manages the hardware on a device
as well as all of the other software programs that run on the device.24 As is relevant to
this case, an operating system manages the Amazon Apps.25 The Amazon Apps HHP
accuses of infringement and the operating systems they are alleged to run on in order to
infringe are: Amazon Mobile (iOS, Android, WP7), Price Check (iOS, Android), Student
D.I. 240 at 2-4. In its objections to the R&R, “[p]laintiff object[ed] to the limitation requiring the
image to be selected ‘by the user.’” Id. at 2 (citing D.I. 230 at 1).
D.I. 258 at 11.
D.I. 259 (Declaration of Chandrajit L. Bajaj, Ph.D.) at ¶ 3 n.2.
Id. at ¶¶ 7-8.
Idd. at ¶ 7.
Id. at ¶ 8.
(iOS, Android), AmazonFresh (iOS, Android), Flow (iOS, Android), AmazonLocal
Merchants (iOS, Android), BeautyBar (iOS), Diapers (iOS, Android), Wag (iOS,
Android), YoYo (iOS), Soap (iOS, Android), Casa (iOS), Afterschool (iOS), Bookworm
(iOS), and Vine (iOS).26 Each of those Apps is available for download by the general
public, free of charge, from an online App store such as Apple’s App Store, Google
Play, Amazon’s Appstore for Android, and Windows Store.27
Amazon cites the ‘088 patent specification’s explanation of how an image is
selectively captured in the disclosed embodiment. The specification describes a system
that combines a conventional video camera, a general purpose computer, a
conventional “video capture card,” and conventional barcode decoding software to allow
a user to take a “snapshot” of an object having barcodes on it so the barcodes can be
decoded.28 According to the specification: (i) a user aims the video camera at an object
having a barcode on it and the video camera generates a live video display of the object
on a computer monitor;29 (ii) when the user determines by looking at the computer
monitor that the object is properly focused and a resolved image appears on the
monitor,30 the user takes a “snapshot” picture of the object by, for instance, pressing a
key on a computer keyboard or clicking a mouse;31 (iii) when the user snaps the picture,
within the computer a single image from the analog video is converted into digital form
D.I. 260, Ex. A (August 19, 2013 Infringement Contentions) at 2-3.
D.I. 259 at ¶ 9.
‘088 patent, 1:14-64, 3:53-67, 4:6-10, 4:62-64, 5:3-8, 7:28-36.
‘088 patent, 4:62-5:8, 5:20-22, 10:24-28.
‘088 patent, 5:9-12, 5:20-22.
‘088 patent, 4:44-54, 5:9-30, 10:29-30. The user can take the picture by, for example, pressing
a key on a computer key on a computer keyboard, clicking a mouse, setting a timer, or other means. ‘088
patent, 4:23-26, 4:44-54, Fig. 1 (illustrating user inputs as “KEYBOARD, MOUSE, TIMER, ETC.”)
by the “video capture card”;32 (iv) the single digital snapshot is stored;33 and (v) the
barcode decoding software automatically decodes barcodes within the snapshot.34
Amazon contends HHP’s new infringement contentions fail because the Accused
Apps purportedly do not allow a user to take a picture or otherwise select an instant in
time and, even if they did, they do not convert images from analog to digital form.35
Amazon also maintains HHP’s opposition to its summary judgment motion largely relies
on arguments made during claim construction that were rejected and, therefore, cannot
be the basis for denying its motion.36
Amazon argues the Accused Apps do not function in the manner described in the
‘088 patent and, specifically, do not perform “selectively capturing” as construed by the
court. According to Amazon, to a user of the Accused Apps, each works in substantially
the same way.37 Once a user initiates the Accused App, a live video is presented on the
smartphone’s screen showing whatever the camera is initially pointed at.38 Overlaid on
top of the video display are two orange brackets (referred to as “arrows”).39 Text above
the arrows reads “Center barcode between the arrows”; text below the arrows reads
“Barcode will scan automatically. Try to avoid shadows and glare.”40
‘088 patent, 4:44-54, 5:22-27, 10:29-30.
‘088 patent 5:11-13, 5:24-27, 10:29-30.
‘088 patent, 5:31-6:38, 10:31-35.
D.I. 258 at 2; id. at 3 (“These applications do not permit users to take pictures at all. Nor do
they allow users to select any single image for conversion from analog into digital form, or to select an
instant in time when such analog-to-digital conversion will occur. Indeed, the accused applications do not
allow a user to select a single image or a single instant in time for any purposes whatsoever.”).
Id. at 2, 4-5.
D.I. 259 at ¶ 11.
Id. at ¶¶ 12-13.
Id. The Amazon Flow App for iOS and Android do not overlay arrows or the same text as the
other Accused Apps. Id. at ¶ 14. Instead these Apps only overlay text at the bottom of the screen that
states “Line up text left to right” (iOS) and “Scan products, phone numbers, URLs, Barcodes, and QR
Amazon contends it is undisputed that a user of the Accused Apps cannot take
the requisite snapshot by pressing a shutter button, setting a timer, or in any other
manner.41 Even if a user watching the live video wanted to select a particular instant in
time to capture a single video image, the Accused Apps do not provide any mechanism
by which they could communicate that selection to the Accused App.42 Amazon insists
a user of the Accused Apps simply is not able to select any image or any instant in time
based on the display.43 Amazon maintains, therefore, that the Accused Apps cannot
infringe the asserted claims because a user of the Accused Apps is unable to make that
selection as required by the court’s construction of the “selectively capturing” terms: “at
an instant in time selected by the user based on the displayed image, converting the live
analog video signal into a single digital image that is output for storage into computer
The court agrees with Amazon that the Accused Apps provide no mechanism by
which a user selects an instant in time to capture a barcode image and, therefore, the
Accused Apps do not infringe the asserted claims of the ‘088 patent.
HHP contends that one flaw in Amazon’s argument is that Amazon improperly
limits the mechanisms for user selection to a key or button.44 First, the court’s
construction of “selectively capturing” did not include any limitation on the manner in
which the user selects an instant in time to capture an image. Nor did it imply such a
codes” (iOS and Android). Id. As relevant to Amazon’s motion, however, the operation of the Flow Apps
is the same as that of the other Accused Apps. Id. at ¶¶ 11, 15-16.
Id. at ¶ 15.
D.I. 266 at 19, 21.
limit in its discussion of the term “selectively”: “the specification explicitly states
‘regardless of the mode selected,’ e.g., keyboard mouse, or timer . . . .”45 Second,
Amazon did not include that limitation. The portion of Amazon’s opening brief HHP
cites in support of its contention states the Accused Apps do not infringe because a
user cannot select an image by “pressing a shutter button, not be setting a timer, and
not by doing anything else.”46
Because the court did not construe “selectively capturing” to be limited to a user
utilizing a keypad, mouse click, or timer, HHP contends the user “selectively captures” a
barcode image by aiming the camera at a barcode, centering the image, and holding
the camera steady.
Once the camera has been aimed at the target of interest and the camera
is turned on, the user will continue to center the camera image by
centering it in the proper zone on the display and holding the camera
steady. The user selectively captures the barcode by putting it within the
measurement region of the camera and adjusting the image so that the
barcode is appropriately aligned and reasonably stable within the
measurement region. The live analog video signal (from the sensor) is
converted into a single digital image that is output for storage in computer
memory then placed into the computer memory.47
Despite the fact that aiming is not part of the “selectively capturing” limitation, it is
a separate limitation, i.e. the first step set forth in claim 1, “aiming an imaging apparatus
at a target of interest, said target having at least one of optically readable and bar coded
information contained thereupon,”48 HHP contends the user aiming the camera at a
barcode is part of how the user purportedly selectively captures an image. HHP states
D.I. 222 at 26 (emphasis added).
D.I. 266 at 21 (quoting D.I. 258 at 15) (emphasis added).
D.I.267 (Declaration of Larina A. Alton), Ex. C at 6-7 (emphasis added).
‘088 patent, claim 1.
the Accused Apps measure and respond to two aspects of user input reflecting an
instant in time selected by the user: “Has the user placed a pattern in my measurement
region?” and “is my accelerometer stability measurement within range?”49 According to
HHP, these inputs from the user are measured by the smartphone’s camera and its
accelerometer, as called for by the Accused Apps, and are analogous to the mouse
click, keyboard, and/or timer inputs described in the specification of the ‘088 patent.50
HHP maintains that unless the user puts the barcode within the designated region or
field of view of the camera and also holds the camera steady on the barcode, no copy of
the digital image is made into RAM for further processing.51
HHP notes Amazon specifically instructs and assists the user to make those
inputs to the application based upon the displayed image. Amazon instructs users to
use the displayed image by placing it within a desired measurement region, improving
the image, and holding the smartphone within accelerometer limits:
“Center barcode between the arrows. . . Try to avoid shadows and glare”
“1. Try reducing the glare on the item 2. Move the camera closer, but
stay in focus”
“Hold steady . . .”
“Center Barcode between the arrows”52
HHP further points out Amazon employs graphics (either blue floating dots or
capture bars that change color on the screen) to assist the user in making this
D.I. 268 (Declaration of Andrew Wolfe) at ¶ 83.
Id. at ¶¶ 83-84.
D.I. 266 at 16.
D.I. 268 at ¶ 86.
selection;53 the bars are orange until the user places an appropriately aligned barcode
within them, at which point the capture bar turns green, and the image is captured for
the user.54 The blue dots of other Accused Apps help the user orient the phone and
capture a barcode.55
The court does not agree with HHP that a user aiming the camera, centering the
barcode, and holding the camera steady is analogous selecting a particular image using
a mouse click, keyboard, and/or timer inputs described in the specification of the ‘088
patent because it is the Accused Apps that make the selection despite the fact that the
user takes those preliminary actions. As HHP acknowledges, “[t]he issue . . . really
comes down to the proper application of the Court’s construction to the facts set forth in
Hand Held’s contentions.”56 Despite the infringement contention, above, stating the
user selectively captures an image by taking those preliminary actions, in subsequent
contentions, HHP alleges the Accused Apps, not the user, performs the “selectively
The selective capturing and storing of an instantaneous image of said
target into the memory of a computer is performed by Amazon Mobile by
establishing and/or applying criteria that determine what images and/or
which portions of the images will be selected, designated for further
detection and decoding, and stored.57
The Mobile application monitors current and historical readings from the
Id. at ¶ 87.
D.I. 266 at 17.
Id. at 19.
D.I. 260, Ex. C at 9 (emphasis added). The court notes HHP’s infringement contentions
alleging the Accused Apps perform the “selectively capturing” limitation, in part, by “designat[ing] for
further detection and decoding” is strikingly similar to the construction for the “selectively capturing” terms
it advocated during the Markman process: “designating a real-time image for attempted decoding, based
on one or more conditions and placing it in memory.” D.I. 222 at 23. The court rejected this proposed
construction. Id. at 23-29.
accelerometer as well as the camera to determine when the user is
holding the camera steady enough to obtain reliable image data. Based
on this assessment of user behavior, the Mobile applications selectively
captures and stores an instantaneous image of the target into the memory
of the device and attempts to detect and decode a barcode symbol in the
Additionally, the Mobile application selectively captures based on the
possibility of being aimed at a barcode. After the user has adjusted the
image so that the barcode is within the preferred measurement region,
appropriately aligned, and reasonably stable, the live analog video signal
(from the sensor) is converted into a single digital image that is output for
storage in computer memory then placed into the computer memory.59
It is the user who must make the selection of the instant in time to capture the
barcode image, not the Accused Apps. Judge Andrews previously rejected HHP’s
suggestion to the contrary. In its objection relating to the to the R&R’s “selectively
capturing” construction, HHP offered a new construction that did not require a user to
select the image. HHP proposed a modification of the R&R’s construction of the
“selectively capturing” term to allow the processor, rather than the user, to make the
selection: “at an instant in time selected by the user based on the displayed image or
the processor, converting the live analog video signal into a single digital image that is
output for storage into computer memory.60 Judge Andrews held “[t]his proposal was
D.I. 260, Ex. C at 9 (emphasis added).
Id., Ex. C at 10 (emphasis added). Indeed, the technical tutorial HHP used at the Markman
hearing demonstrates the user of the Accused Apps need not even touch the smartphone after the
Accused App is activated. Instead, the smartphone can be mounted and the user simply moves an object
having a barcode in front of the camera until the barcode is properly centered, at which time the Accused
App automatically decodes the barcode. D.I. 258 at 4; D.I. 260 at Ex. B (DVD of HHP tutorial). HHP
states that is not how smartphones are typically operated by their users and was done so the exemplary
video could clearly depict the operation of the Accused Apps for the convenience of the court. D.I. 268 at
¶ 102. It also argues that, even in the video, a user still had to move an object to orient the barcode within
the scan region of the application in order to obtain a single image to be stored in RAM. Id. HHP
concludes, therefore, user selection of the image containing the barcode takes place even in the
circumstance of the video. Id. The court disagrees. The video demonstrates the Accused App
automatically making the selection of the image to capture without a command from the user.
D.I. 230 at 10 (emphasis in original).
not before the Magistrate Judge and is therefore not timely raised. Even if it were,
however, the Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge’s construction requiring a user to
selectively capture the image.”61
Because a user of the Accused Apps cannot make the selection of an
instantaneous image to capture, the “selectively capturing” limitation is not met by those
applications and summary judgment of noninfringement is warranted.62
Consistent with the findings contained in the Report and Recommendation,
IT IS RECOMMENDED that Amazon’s motion for summary judgment (D.I. 257)
be GRANTED and Amazon’s motion for leave to respond to HHP’s sur-reply (D.I. 282)
be DENIED as MOOT.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), FED. R. CIV. P. 72 (b)(1), and D. DEL. LR
72.1, any objections to the Report and Recommendation shall be filed within fourteen
(14) days limited to ten (10) pages after being served with the same. Any response
shall be limited to ten (10) pages.
The parties are directed to the Court’s Standing Order in Non-Pro Se Matters for
Objections Filed under FED. R. CIV. P. 72 dated November 16, 2009, a copy of which is
found on the Court’s website (www.ded.uscourts.gov.).
D.I. 240 at 4 (emphasis added). As explained above, the court has rejected HHP’s current
position that the user does perform the “selectively capturing” step.
In light of this determination, the court need not address Amazon’s alternative arguments for
summary judgment. Also, after Amazon filed its reply brief, HHP, on November 3, 2015, filed a sur-reply
due to Amazon purportedly submitting new information and contentions in its reply brief in the form of an
additional declaration of its expert, Bajaj. D.I. 280 at 1. In response, Amazon filed a motion for leave to
respond to that sur-reply, which Amazon alleges was improperly filed. D.I. 282. Because the court was
able to resolve Amazon’s motion with reference only to the parties’ opening and answering briefs, and did
not rely on either Amazon’s reply brief or HHP’s sur-reply brief, Amazon’s motion is denied as moot.
s/ Mary Pat Thynge
January 21, 2016
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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