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Imperium IP Holdings (Cayman), Ltd. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division

April 27, 2017

IMPERIUM IP HOLDINGS CAYMAN, LTD.
v.
SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD., SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS AMERICA, INC., SAMSUNG TELECOMMUNICATIONS AMERICA, LLC, and SAMSUNG SEMICONDUCTOR, INC. No. 4

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          AMOS L. MAZZANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is Defendants' Rule 50(b) Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law and/or Rule 59 Motion for a New Trial (Dkt. #337). After reviewing the relevant pleadings, the Court denies Defendants' motion.

         BACKGROUND

         On June 9, 2014, Plaintiff filed the instant action against Defendants, alleging infringement of United States Patent Nos. 6, 271, 884 (the “'884 Patent), 7, 092, 029 (the “'029 Patent”), and 6, 836, 290 (the “'290 Patent”). On February 8, 2016, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiff. Particularly, the jury found the following: (1) Defendants infringed Claims 1, 5, 14, and 17 of the '884 Patent; (2) Defendants infringed Claims 1, 6, and 7 of the '029 Patent; (3) Defendants willfully infringed the patents-in-suit; and (4) Claim 10 of the '290 Patent was invalid for obviousness (Dkt. #253). The jury awarded $4, 840, 772 in damages for infringement of the '884 Patent and $2, 129, 608.50 in damages for infringement of the '029 Patent (Dkt. #253). On August 24, 2016, the Court awarded enhanced damages for willful infringement and entered final judgment (Dkt. #329; Dkt. #330).

         On September 21, 2016, Defendants filed their renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law (Dkt. #337). On October 11, 2016, Plaintiff filed a response (Dkt. #341). On October 24, 2016, Defendants filed a reply (Dkt. #343). On November 3, 2016, Defendants filed a sur-reply (Dkt. #346).

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         Judgment as a Matter of Law

         Upon a party's renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law following a jury verdict, the Court should properly ask whether “the state of proof is such that reasonable and impartial minds could reach the conclusion the jury expressed in its verdict.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(b); see also Am. Home Assurance Co. v. United Space All., 378 F.3d 482, 487 (5th Cir. 2004). “The grant or denial of a motion for judgment as a matter of law is a procedural issue not unique to patent law, reviewed under the law of the regional circuit in which the appeal from the district court would usually lie.” Finisar Corp. v. DirectTV Grp., Inc., 523 F.3d 1323, 1332 (Fed. Cir. 2008). “A JMOL may only be granted when, ‘viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, the evidence points so strongly and overwhelmingly in favor of one party that the court believes that reasonable jurors could not arrive at any contrary conclusion.” Versata Software, Inc. v. SAP Am., Inc., 717 F.3d 1255, 1261 (Fed. Cir. 2013) (quoting Dresser-Rand Co. v. Virtual Automation, Inc., 361 F.3d 831, 838 (5th Cir. 2004)).

         Under Fifth Circuit law, a court should be “especially deferential” to a jury's verdict and must not reverse the jury's findings unless they are not supported by substantial evidence. Baisden v. I'm Ready Prods., Inc., 693 F.3d 491, 499 (5th Cir. 2012). “Substantial evidence is defined as evidence of such quality and weight that reasonable and fair-minded men in the exercise of impartial judgment might reach different conclusions.” Threlkeld v. Total Petroleum, Inc., 211 F.3d 887, 891 (5th Cir. 2000). A motion for judgment as a matter of law must be denied “unless the facts and inferences point so strongly and overwhelming in the movant's favor that reasonable jurors could not reach a contrary conclusion.” Baisden, 693 F.3d at 498 (citation omitted). However, “[t]here must be more than a mere scintilla of evidence in the record to prevent judgment as a matter of law in favor of the movant.” Arismendez v. Nightingale Home Health Care, Inc., 493 F.3d 602, 606 (5th Cir. 2007).

         In evaluating a motion for judgment as a matter of law, a court must “draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the verdict and cannot substitute other inferences that [the court] might regard as more reasonable.” E.E.O.C. v. Boh Bros. Constr. Co., 731 F.3d 444, 451 (5th Cir. 2013) (citation omitted). However, “[c]redibility determinations, the weighing of evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge.” Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000). “[T]he court should give credence to the evidence favoring the nonmovant as well as that ‘evidence supporting the moving party that is uncontradicted and unimpeached, at least to the extent that the evidence comes from disinterested witnesses.”' Id. at 151 (citation omitted).

         Motion for a New Trial

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59, a new trial may be granted to any party to a jury trial on any or all issues “for any reason for which a new trial has heretofore been granted in an action at law in federal court.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 59. In considering a motion for a new trial, the Federal Circuit applies the law of the regional circuit. z4 Techs., Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., 507 F.3d 1340, 1347 (Fed. Cir. 2007). “A new trial may be granted, for example, if the district court finds the verdict is against the weight of the evidence, the damages awarded are excessive, the trial was unfair, or prejudicial error was committed in its course.” Smith v. Transworld Drilling Co., 773 F.2d 610, 612-13 (5th Cir. 1985). “The decision to grant or deny a motion for a new trial is within the discretion of the trial court and will not be disturbed absent an abuse of discretion or a misapprehension of the law.” Prytania Park Hotel, Ltd. v. Gen. Star Indem. Co., 179 F.3d 169, 173 (5th Cir. 1999).

         ANALYSIS

         I. Judgment as a Matter of Law

         Defendants move for judgment as a matter of law on the issues of infringement, validity of the '884 Patent and the '029 Patent, and damages. Defendants argue the evidence presented at trial was legally insufficient to support the jury's verdict.

         A. Direct Infringement

         To prove infringement of an asserted patent claim under 35 U.S.C. § 271, a plaintiff must show the presence of every element, or its equivalent, in the accused product or service. Lemelson v. United States, 752 F.2d 1538, 1551 (Fed. Cir. 1985). First, the Court construes the asserted claim to determine its scope and meaning; and second, the construed claim must be compared to the accused device or service. Absolute Software, Inc. v. Stealth Signal, Inc., 659 F.3d 1121, 1129 (Fed. Cir. 2011) (citing Carroll Touch, Inc. v. Electro Mech. Sys., Inc., 15 F.3d 1573, 1576 (Fed. Cir. 1993)). “A determination of infringement is a question of fact that is reviewed for substantial evidence when tried to a jury.” ACCO Brands, Inc. v. ABA Locks Mfr. Co., 501 F.3d 1307, 1311 (Fed. Cir. 2007).

         1. Infringement of the '290 Patent

         Defendants claim to be entitled to a judgment of non-infringement as a matter of law for the '290 Patent. Defendants contend that Plaintiff and its infringement expert, Dr. Cameron Wright, failed to do the following at trial: (1) identify each of the accused products for the '290 Patent; (2) establish that the Samsung Galaxy S5 (“Galaxy S5”) is a representative product for all products accused of infringing the '290 Patent; (3) identify the documents (and portions of these documents) relied upon to show infringement for all products accused of infringing the '290 Patent; (4) identify the portions of deposition testimony that Dr. Wright relied on to establish infringement of the '290 Patent; (5) establish that the accused products actually practice the MIPI standard (Dkt. #337 at p. 3).

         The Court disagrees with Defendants' arguments and determines substantial evidence supports the jury's verdict finding of infringement. At trial, Dr. Wright asserted that Defendants' products contain every limitation of Claim 10 in the '290 Patent (Dkt. #263, Feb. 2, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 99:10-16). Specifically, Dr. Wright testified that Defendants infringe this claim with two models of computers, five models of tablets, and sixteen phone models, totaling twenty-three accused products (Dkt. #263, Feb. 2, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 87:21-88:2). Dr. Wright then stated:

[T]hese are a lot of models here, a lot of individual models. We can't walk through every one, so I've chosen as one example product, one representative, and since they all infringe in the same way, I can - I can walk through that product and you can apply it to the others.

         (Dkt. #263, Feb. 2, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 88:5-9). As such, Dr. Wright chose the Galaxy S5 as a representative product for his infringement opinion. Defendants maintain that Dr. Wright improperly used the Galaxy S5 as a representative product without meeting Plaintiff's burden of establishing how the other accused products function and operate in the same way (Dkt. #337 at p. 4). Defendants are incorrect. In TiVo, Inc. v. EchoStar Commc'ns Corp., the Federal Circuit noted, “[T]here is nothing improper about an expert testifying in detail about a particular device and then stating that the same analysis applies to other allegedly infringing devices that operate similarly, without discussing each type of device in detail.” 516 F.3d 1290, 1308 (Fed. Cir. 2008). Dr. Wright testified that he reviewed documentation related to the accused products and concluded that the Galaxy S5 and the remaining accused products employ the same interface and infringe in basically the same way (Dkt. #263, Feb. 2, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 88:12-14; Dkt. #263, Feb. 2, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 97:20-99:16). Defendants were free to cross-examine Dr. Wright on this testimony, but they did not. The Court finds that Dr. Wright was justified in using the Galaxy S5 as a representative product for the other accused products in his infringement analysis.

         To prove infringement, Dr. Wright walked through the elements of Claim 10 and explained how the Galaxy S5 infringes each and every element (Dkt. #263, Feb. 2, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 88:3-97:19). Dr. Wright testified that he examined a large body of evidence that included interrogatory responses, documents, depositions, and source code to support his opinion (Dkt. #263, Feb. 2, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 84:14-19). Defendants contest Dr. Wright's testimony because he did not present the jury with every piece of data supporting his opinion. Rule 705 of the Federal Rules of Evidence allows an expert to offer an opinion without disclosing the underlying facts or data making up such opinion. Fed.R.Evid. 705. “The expert may in any event be required to disclose the underlying facts or data on cross-examination.” Id. Here, Dr. Wright presented the jury with some of the documentary evidence that formed his opinion (Dkt. #263, Feb. 2, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 89:18-19, 90:6-10 (introducing a Galaxy S5 datasheet for image processing that shows the Galaxy S5 used a CMOS image sensor); Dkt. #263, Feb. 2, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 91:1-7 (referring to a user guide for Defendants' interface)). Defendants had the opportunity to cross-examine him about the factual underpinnings of this opinion. See Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 596 (1993) (“Vigorous cross-examination, presentation of contrary evidence, and careful instruction on the burden of proof are the traditional and appropriate means of attacking shaky but admissible evidence.” (citing Rock v. Arkansas, 483 U.S. 44, 61 (1987))). Nevertheless, whether Defendants used that opportunity effectively goes to the weight of the proffered testimony rather than its admissibility. “Determining the weight and credibility of the evidence is the special province of the trier of fact.” Inwood Labs., Inc. v. Ives Labs., Inc., 456 U.S. 844, 856 (1982).

         Defendants finally assert that Plaintiff has not shown that Defendants' accused products meet the Court's claim construction. The Court construed “an image processor connected to the CMOS image sensor to receive the signals output by the data interface circuit” of Claim 10 to mean “a processor connected to the CMOS image sensor for processing image data received from the single-ended and differential interfaces” (Dkt. #105 at p. 18). Defendants contend that their products use the MIPI CSI-2 standard, which transmits and receives signals using only the differential interface. Because the accused products never receive image data over the single-ended interface, Defendants claim that their products do not meet the claim limitation under the Court's construction. Defendants' arguments are contrary to the Court's construction and are rejected. In construing Claim 10, the Court did not require both the single-ended and differential interfaces to receive image data. Rather, the image processor should process image data received from the single-ended and differential interfaces. The parties agree that differential interfaces transmit image data, but they dispute whether control signals, transmitted by Defendants' single-ended interface, are image data. Plaintiff put forth sufficient evidence to allow the jury to weigh the competing testimony, make credibility determinations, and decide whether the claim limitation was met (Dkt. #263, Feb. 2, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 96:20-97:12-15 (mentioning the single-ended interface in Defendants' accused products transmit control signals); Dkt. #263, Feb. 2, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 62:22-63:7 (disputing whether image data includes control signals)).

         Accordingly, the Court denies Defendants' motion for judgment as a matter of law for non-infringement of the '290 Patent.

         2. Infringement of the '029 Patent

         Defendants make three arguments for why they should be entitled to a judgment of non-infringement for the '029 Patent. First, Defendants argue that Dr. Wright and Plaintiff failed to prove that Defendants infringed Claims 1, 6, and 7. Second, Defendants argue that Plaintiff has not shown that the element of “generating a look-up table” was satisfied and performed in the United States. Third, Defendants argue that Plaintiff has not presented evidence to prove the accused products “generat[e] a preparatory light for a predetermined duration.” '029 Patent at 11:42-43.

         First, substantial evidence supports the jury's verdict that the accused products infringe Claims 1, 6, and 7 of the '029 Patent. Dr. Wright testified that Defendants infringed with fifteen models of phones and fifty-two models of cameras, but he did not examine every model of phone and camera (Dkt. #263, Feb. 2, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 102:10-11, 21-23). Instead, he stated, “What tells you things is the documentation by the person that designed and manufactured that device. And so I turned to the documentation that describes how [Defendants] designed it, how [the devices] work, what the functionality is. Just staring at the inside of a device wouldn't help me at all.” (Dkt. #263, Feb. 2, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 103:6-10). In this review of documentation, Dr. Wright discovered that Defendants use three different algorithms-the Strobo algorithm, the Flash aE algorithm, and the Flash algorithm-to infringe (Dkt. #263, Feb. 2, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 103:13-104:1). Dr. Wright associated each algorithm with a representative product and explained how each product satisfies every limitation of Claims 1, 6, and 7. For the Strobo algorithm, Dr. Wright selected a WB2100 digital camera (Dkt. #263, Feb. 2, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 104:16-111:14 (indicating infringement of Claim 1); Dkt. #264, Feb. 2, 2016 P.M. Trial Tr. at 13:8-18 (indicating infringement of Claim 6); Dkt. #264, Feb. 2, 2016 P.M. Trial Tr. at 15:5-19 (indicating infringement of Claim 7)). For the Flash aE algorithm, Dr. Wright selected a Galaxy Note 2 mobile phone (Dkt. #264, Feb. 2, 2016 P.M. Trial Tr. at 4:1- 8:25 (indicating infringement for Claim 1); Dkt. #264, Feb. 2, 2016 P.M. Trial Tr. at 13:22- 14:10 (indicating infringement for Claim 6); Dkt. #264, Feb. 2, 2016 P.M. Trial Tr. at 15:5-19 (indicating infringement for Claim 7)). For the Flash algorithm, Dr. Wright selected a NX-10 digital camera (Dkt. #264, Feb. 2, 2016 P.M. Trial Tr. at 9:15-12:22 (indicating infringement for Claim 1); Dkt. #264, Feb. 2, 2016 P.M. Trial Tr. at 14:13-22 (indicating infringement for Claim 6); Dkt. #264, Feb. 2, 2016 P.M. Trial Tr. at 15:5-19 (indicating infringement for Claim 7)). Based on Dr. Wright's testimony and his examination of the representative products, the Court determines a reasonable jury could conclude that the accused products infringe the '029 Patent.

         Defendants argue that Dr. Wright and Plaintiff did not identify the products accused of infringing the '029 Patent or establish the use of representative products for the remaining accused products. Defendants further argue that Dr. Wright did not identify the evidence he used to support his infringement opinion. Federal Circuit precedent allows presentation of expert testimony that analyzes infringement of a representative product on an element-by-element basis, followed by a summary opinion that all the other accused products infringe based on the same analysis. TiVo, 516 F.3d at 1308. Here, the use of representative products was proper. Dr. Wright testified that the remaining accused products infringe in the same manner as the representative products (Dkt. #264, Feb. 2, 2016 P.M. Trial Tr. at 16:13-14, 20-22). He explained that he reached this conclusion by consulting Defendants' interrogatory responses, user guides and manuals, source code, deposition testimony, and exposure guide libraries (Dkt.

         #264, Feb. 2, 2016 P.M. Trial Tr. at 16:5-12, 16-19). Defendants were free to cross-examine Dr. Wright on this testimony. However, the record does not indicate that Defendants challenged Dr. Wright's use of representative products for the remaining accused products. As explained previously, Federal Rule of Evidence 705 allows an expert to state an opinion without testifying to the underlying facts or data. Fed.R.Evid. 705. This rule puts the responsibility on Defendants to contest Dr. Wright's opinion and the factual bases supporting that opinion. Again, the record does not indicate that Defendants cross-examined Dr. Wright on this matter. Thus, the Court disagrees with each of these arguments.

         Second, substantial evidence supports the jury's finding that the accused products “generat[e] a look-up table storing associated image strobe durations and power values” and do such in the United States. '029 Patent at 11:54-57. Dr. Wright testified that the look-up table is necessary for the camera to understand how the flash works (Dkt. #263, Feb. 2, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 109:19-21). Particularly, the table determines the appropriate length of the flash and the appropriate brightness (Dkt. #263, Feb. 2, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 109:22-24). Additionally, Dr. Wright testified that each algorithm generates a look-up table when the camera or phone is turned on. See Dkt. #263, Feb. 2, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 110:25-111:6 (“And these [values for appropriate durations and brightness] will then get loaded into the camera so the camera knows something about its own flash unit. Otherwise, it wouldn't know enough about its own flash unit. And this . . . gets figured out ahead of time and is loaded into the camera, and when you turn the camera on, that information then gets loaded into memory, and it generates that table.”); see also Dkt. #263, Feb. 2, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 110:9-18 (describing the look-up table for the Strobo algorithm); Dkt. #264, Feb. 2, 2016 P.M. Trial Tr. at 7:18-8:18 (describing the look-up table for the Flash aE algorithm); Dkt. #264, Feb. 2, 2016 P.M. Trial Tr. at 12:7-20 (describing the look-up table for the Flash algorithm). Defendants argue that their mobile phones use LEDs as flashes (instead of flash lamps or strobe lamps filled with Xenon gas) and therefore do not use look-up tables (Dkt. #337 at p. 10). Defendants offered testimony from their non-infringement and invalidity expert, Kenneth Parulski (“Parulski”), to rebut Plaintiff's testimony. Parulski stated, “[T]he emission of light from a mobile phone from an LED is constant as a function of time. So there's no need to have a look-up table that characterizes the emission.” (Dkt. #319, Feb. 4, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 66:18-21). Instead, he explained, “You can use multiplication in order to multiply the intensity by the amount of time it's on, if you wanted to determine the amount of light that's being emitted.” (Dkt. #319, Feb. 4, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 66:21-24).

         When there is conflicting testimony, the jury, rather than the Court, makes credibility determinations and decides which testimony to believe. MobileMedia Ideas LLC, v. Apple, Inc., 780 F.3d 1159, 1168 (Fed. Cir. 2015). Thus, a reasonable jury could conclude that Defendants' accused products “generate a look-up table.”

         Plaintiff also presented substantial evidence that the accused products generate look-up tables in the United States. Dr. Wright testified that a phone or camera generates a look-up table when it is turned on. Plaintiff then offered evidence of the number of accused products sold in the United States, where pictures and videos are taken (Dkt. #266, Feb. 3, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 122:13-14 (indicating Defendants sold 106, 480, 425 accused products that infringe the '029 Patent)). Dr. Wright testified:

[W]e have heard testimony in the last few days that over a hundred million units have been sold in the United States. So these . . . operations that are part of the anti-flicker algorithm that Samsung uses, these are automatic. They're part of the automatic-exposure mode. You turn . . . the camera on, you turn the phone on, these modes are . . . operating in the background. The flicker algorithm is running in the background. . . . [T]he statement that this is not performed in the United States is wrong.

         (Dkt. #275, Feb. 5, 2016 P.M. Trial Tr. at 129:19-130:4). To rebut these contentions, Parulski testified that Defendants' cameras generate a look-up table during the manufacturing process, which does not take place in the United States (Dkt. #319, Feb. 4, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 70:3- 73:25). After considering the proffered testimonies and evidence, a reasonable jury could conclude that Defendants' accused products satisfy this claim limitation in the United States.

         Third, substantial evidence supports the jury's finding that the accused products “generat[e] a preparatory light for a predetermined duration.” '029 Patent at 11:42-43. The Court construed this limitation to mean “preparatory light emitted for an amount of time that is determined before emitting the light” (Dkt. #105 at p. 21). Defendants argue that none of the evidence produced at trial shows that their mobile phones meet this limitation. Defendants do not dispute that the accused digital cameras meet this limitation. At trial, Dr. Wright examined the Flash aE algorithm for the Galaxy Note 2 and testified that the accused mobile phones emit a preflash for predefined duration (Dkt. #264, Feb. 2, 2016 P.M. Trial Tr. at 4:23-25). He stated that without a preflash for a predefined duration, the mobile phone camera would not operate properly (Dkt. #264, Feb. 2, 2016 P.M. Trial Tr. at 5:1-6). Parulski responded that Defendants' mobile phones do not infringe because the length of the preflash is not known before the camera emits a preflash light (Dkt. #270, Feb. 4, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 57:9-12). He stated that the length of the preflash changes to set the focus and exposure (Dkt. #270, Feb. 4, 2016 A.M. Trial Tr. at 57:16-58:4). Defendants also point to Dr. Wright's admission on cross-examination that the length of the preflash is not known before the camera emits a preflash light (Dkt. #264, Feb. 2, 2016 P.M. Trial Tr. at 48:23-49:2). Plaintiff argues that this alleged admission misinterprets Dr. Wright's testimony. Despite this disputed admission and contrary testimony from Parulski, the Court will not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence and testimony presented to the jury. The Court finds that Plaintiff presented substantial evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that the accused products satisfy this claim limitation.

         Accordingly, the Court denies Defendants' motion for judgment as a matter of law for ...


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