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Raytheon Co. v. Cray, Inc.

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

June 9, 2017

RAYTHEON COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
CRAY, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON CLAIM CONSTRUCTION

          Roy S. Patne Judge.

         On August 4, 2016, the Court held a hearing to determine the proper construction of disputed claim terms in United States Patents No. 7, 475, 274, 8, 190, 714, 8, 335, 909, and 9, 037, 833. Having reviewed the arguments made by the parties at the hearing and in their claim construction briefing (Dkt. Nos. 57, 67, and 71), [1] having considered the intrinsic evidence, and having made subsidiary factual findings about the extrinsic evidence, the Court issues this Claim Construction Memorandum and Order. See Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303, 1314 (Fed. Cir. 2005); Teva Pharm. USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc., 135 S.Ct. 831, 841 (2015).

         Table of Contents

         I. BACKGROUND ............................................................................................................ 4

         II. LEGAL PRINCIPLES ................................................................................................. 5

         III. THE PARTIES' STIPULATED TERMS .................................................................. 8

         IV. CONSTRUCTION OF DISPUTED TERMS ............................................................ 9

         A. “nodes” ........................................................................................................................ 9

         B. “integrated onto, ” “integrating onto, ” and “integrated to” ....................................... 10

         C. “associated with” ....................................................................................................... 15

         D. “configured to communicate with each other via a direct link between them” ........ 18

         E. “the switches for each of the n>8 interconnected nodes are configured in a routerless manner such that each of the n>8 interconnected nodes has its own switch” ........................................... 19

         F. “Northbridge” ........................................................................ 23

         G. “topology enabled by the first switch of each of the plurality of nodes” ................. 24

         H. “folded topology” ........................................................................... 25

         I. “distributed application” ............................................................................................. 26

         J. “switching fabric” ......................................................................... 30

         K. “host” .............................................................................................. 33

         L. “boot image” .................................................................................. 37

         M. “[resetting / reset] a boot image of the selected node” ............................................ 38

         N. “policy associated with the distributed application” ................................................ 41

         O. “dynamically [selecting / select] one of a plurality of nodes” .................................. 45

         P. “[associating / associate] a virtual disk image with the selected node” .................... 49

         Q. “low utilization” ........................................................................................................ 50

         R. “the distributed application is operable to execute at a subset of the plurality of nodes” ........................ 53

         S. “a manager coupled to a fabric, the manager operable to monitor a currently running node in the HPC system executing a host and, if a fault occurs at the currently running node, discontinue operation of the currently running node and boot the host at a free node in the HPC system from the storage” .......................... 54

         T. “means for monitoring a currently running node in an HPC system comprising a plurality of nodes” .................... 60

         U. “means for, if a fault occurs at the currently running node: discontinuing operation of the currently running node; and booting the host at a free node in the HPC system from the storage” ......................................................... 66

         V. CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................ 69

         APPENDIX A ................................................................................................................... 70

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff has alleged infringement of United States Patents No. 7, 475, 274 (“the '274 Patent”), 8, 190, 714 (“the '714 Patent”), 8, 335, 909 (“the '909 Patent”), and 9, 037, 833 (“the '833 Patent”), which Plaintiff submits “relate to high performance computing (‘HPC') technology, i.e., supercomputers.” [Dkt. # 57] at 1.

         The '274 Patent, titled “Fault Tolerance and Recovery in a High-Performance Computing (HPC) System, ” issued on January 6, 2009, and bears a filing date of November 17, 2004. The Abstract of the '274 Patent states:

In one embodiment, a method for fault tolerance and recovery in a high-performance computing (HPC) system includes monitoring a currently running node in an HPC system including multiple nodes. A fabric coupling the multiple nodes to each other and coupling the multiple nodes to storage accessible to each of the multiple nodes and capable of storing multiple hosts that are each executable at any of the multiple nodes. The method includes, if a fault occurs at the currently running node, discontinuing operation of the currently running node and booting the host at a free node in the HPC system from the storage.

         The '714 Patent, titled “System and Method for Computer Cluster Virtualization Using Dynamic Boot Images and Virtual Disk, ” issued on May 29, 2012, and bears a filing date of April 15, 2004. The Abstract of the '714 Patent states:

A method for computer cluster virtualization includes selecting a distributed application. A policy associated with the distributed application is retrieved. One of a plurality of nodes is dynamically selected. Then, a boot image of the selected node is reset based, at least in part, on the retrieved policy, with the boot image being compatible with the distributed application. Then, a virtual disk image is associated with the node. At least a portion of the distributed application is then executed on the reset node using the associated virtual disk image.

         The '909 Patent, titled “Coupling Processors to Each Other for High Performance Computing (HPC), ” issued on December 18, 2012, and bears a filing date of April 15, 2004. The '833 Patent is a continuation of the '909 Patent, and “[a]s such, the '909 and '833 patents share a specification.” [Dkt. 67] at 2. The Abstract of the '909 Patent states:

A High Performance Computing (HPC) node comprises a motherboard, a switch comprising eight or more ports integrated on the motherboard, and at least two processors operable to execute an HPC job, with each processor communicably coupled to the integrated switch and integrated on the motherboard.

         Shortly before the start of the August 4, 2016 hearing, the Court provided the parties with preliminary constructions with the aim of focusing the parties' arguments and facilitating discussion. Those preliminary constructions are set forth below within the discussion for each term.

         II. LEGAL PRINCIPLES

         “It is a ‘bedrock principle' of patent law that ‘the claims of a patent define the invention to which the patentee is entitled the right to exclude.'” Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303, 1312 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc) (quoting Innova/Pure Water Inc. v. Safari Water Filtration Sys., Inc., 381 F.3d 1111, 1115 (Fed. Cir. 2004)). Claim construction is clearly an issue of law for the court to decide. Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., 52 F.3d 967, 970-71 (Fed. Cir. 1995) (en banc), aff'd, 517 U.S. 370 (1996). “In some cases, however, the district court will need to look beyond the patent's intrinsic evidence and to consult extrinsic evidence in order to understand, for example, the background science or the meaning of a term in the relevant art during the relevant time period.” Teva Pharms. USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc., 135 S.Ct. 831, 841 (2015) (citation omitted). “In cases where those subsidiary facts are in dispute, courts will need to make subsidiary factual findings about that extrinsic evidence. These are the ‘evidentiary underpinnings' of claim construction that we discussed in Markman, and this subsidiary factfinding must be reviewed for clear error on appeal.” Id. (citing 517 U.S. 370).

         To determine the meaning of the claims, courts start by considering the intrinsic evidence. See Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1313; see also C.R. Bard, Inc. v. U.S. Surgical Corp., 388 F.3d 858, 861 (Fed. Cir. 2004); Bell Atl. Network Servs., Inc. v. Covad Commc'ns Group, Inc., 262 F.3d 1258, 1267 (Fed. Cir. 2001). The intrinsic evidence includes the claims themselves, the specification, and the prosecution history. See Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1314; C.R. Bard, 388 F.3d at 861. Courts give claim terms their ordinary and accustomed meaning as understood by one of ordinary skill in the art at the time of the invention in the context of the entire patent. Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1312-13; accord Alloc, Inc. v. Int'l Trade Comm'n, 342 F.3d 1361, 1368 (Fed. Cir. 2003).

         The claims themselves provide substantial guidance in determining the meaning of particular claim terms. Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1314. First, a term's context in the asserted claim can be very instructive. Id. Other asserted or unasserted claims can aid in determining the claim's meaning because claim terms are typically used consistently throughout the patent. Id. Differences among the claim terms can also assist in understanding a term's meaning. Id. For example, when a dependent claim adds a limitation to an inde- pendent claim, it is presumed that the independent claim does not include the limitation. Id. at 1314-15.

         “[C]laims ‘must be read in view of the specification, of which they are a part.'” Id. at 1315 (quoting Markman, 52 F.3d at 979 (en banc)). “[T]he specification ‘is always highly relevant to the claim construction analysis. Usually, it is dispositive; it is the single best guide to the meaning of a disputed term.'” Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1315 (quoting Vitronics Corp. v. Conceptronic, Inc., 90 F.3d 1576, 1582 (Fed. Cir. 1996)); accord Teleflex, Inc. v. Ficosa N. Am. Corp., 299 F.3d 1313, 1325 (Fed. Cir. 2002). This is true because a patentee may define his own terms, give a claim term a different meaning than the term would otherwise possess, or disclaim or disavow the claim scope. Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1316. In these situations, the inventor's lexicography governs. Id. The specification may also resolve the meaning of ambiguous claim terms “where the ordinary and accustomed meaning of the words used in the claims lack sufficient clarity to permit the scope of the claim to be ascertained from the words alone.” Teleflex, 299 F.3d at 1325. But, “[a]lthough the specification may aid the court in interpreting the meaning of disputed claim language, particular embodiments and examples appearing in the specification will not generally be read into the claims.” Comark Commc'ns, Inc. v. Harris Corp., 156 F.3d 1182, 1187 (Fed. Cir. 1998) (quoting Constant v. Advanced Micro-Devices, Inc., 848 F.2d 1560, 1571 (Fed. Cir. 1988)); accord Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1323.

         The prosecution history is another tool to supply the proper context for claim construction because a patent applicant may also define a term in prosecuting the patent. Home Diagnostics, Inc., v. Lifescan, Inc., 381 F.3d 1352, 1356 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (“As in the case of the specification, a patent applicant may define a term in prosecuting a patent.”). “[T]he prosecution history (or file wrapper) limits the interpretation of claims so as to exclude any interpretation that may have been disclaimed or disavowed during prosecution in order to obtain claim allowance.” Standard Oil Co. v. Am. Cyanamid Co., 774 F.2d 448, 452 (Fed. Cir. 1985).

         Although extrinsic evidence can be useful, it is “less significant than the intrinsic record in determining the legally operative meaning of claim language.” Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1317 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). Technical dictionaries and treatises may help a court understand the underlying technology and the manner in which one skilled in the art might use claim terms, but technical dictionaries and treatises may provide definitions that are too broad or may not be indicative of how the term is used in the patent. Id. at 1318. Similarly, expert testimony may aid a court in understanding the underlying technology and determining the particular meaning of a term in the pertinent field, but an expert's conclusory, unsupported assertions as to a term's definition are entirely unhelpful to a court. Id. Generally, extrinsic evidence is “less reliable than the patent and its prosecution history in determining how to read claim terms.” Id.

         III. THE PARTIES' STIPULATED TERMS

         The parties reached agreement on constructions as stated in their May 19, 2016 Joint Claim Construction and Prehearing Statement. [Dkt. # 55] at 2-3. Those agreements are set forth in Appendix A to the present Claim Construction Memorandum and Order.

         IV. CONSTRUCTION OF DISPUTED TERMS

         A. “nodes”

Plaintiff's Proposed Construction

Defendant's Proposed Construction

Plain and Ordinary Meaning, no construction necessary. If the Court determines a construction is required, a person having ordinary skill in the art (“PHOSITA”) would understand this term to mean, “computing devices.”

“a physical processing device with a unique address that identifies that device to all others on the network”

         [Dkt. # 55] at 3, 5; [Dkt. # 57] at 4; [Dkt. # 67] at 3; [Dkt. # 71] at 1. The parties submit that this disputed term appears in Claims 1, 4, 9, 12-14, and 23-32 of the '909 Patent, Claims 1, 8, 11, 15, and 18-19 of the '833 Patent, Claims 1-3, 5-10, 12-18, 20-25, 27- 29, 31-36, and 38 of the '274 Patent, and Claims 1-9, 11-23, 25-37, and 39-42 of the '714 Patent. [Dkt. # 55] at 3, 5.

         Shortly before the start of the August 4, 2016 hearing, the Court provided the parties with the following preliminary construction: “computing devices.” At the August 4, 2016 hearing, the parties agreed to the Court's preliminary construction.

         The Court therefore construes “nodes” to mean “computing devices.”

         B. “integrated onto, ” “integrating onto, ” and “integrated to”

Plaintiff's Proposed Construction

Defendant's Proposed Construction

Plain and Ordinary Meaning, no construction necessary.

If the Court determines a construction is required, a PHOSITA would understand this term to mean, “mechanically and electrically connect[ed/ing] to/onto.”

“fabricated on the same motherboard without the use of daughterboards or other components”

         [Dkt. # 55] at 3-4, 6; [Dkt. # 57] at 6; [Dkt. # 67] at 5; [Dkt. # 71] at 3. The parties submit that these disputed terms appear in Claims 1, 15, and 23 of the '909 Patent and Claims 1, 16, 27, and 38 of the '274 Patent. [Dkt. # 55] at 3-4, 6.

         Shortly before the start of the August 4, 2016 hearing, the Court provided the parties with the following preliminary construction: “plain meaning (reject defendant's proposed ‘same motherboard' and ‘without the use of daughterboards' limitations).”

         (1) The Parties' Positions

         Plaintiff submits that Defendant's proposed construction is contrary to the disclosure of daughterboards, and Plaintiff argues that Defendant cannot show any prosecution disclaimer. [Dkt. # 57] at 7-8; see Id. at 19. Plaintiff also highlights that Figure 3B and the accompanying description disclose a switch that is integrated to, but not within, the motherboard. Id. at 7.

         Defendant responds:

The '909 and '274 patents claim nodes comprising at least two processors and a switch ‘integrated' onto a motherboard. E.g., '909 patent claim 1; '274 patent claim 1. The specifications repeatedly emphasize that these components are integrated, or fabricated, onto the motherboard as opposed to being located externally to the motherboard. E.g., '274 patent at 4:64-67 and '909 patent at 4:10-13 (integrated switch minimizes distances between nodes); '909 patent at 7:57-62 (integration eliminates centralized functionality).

         [Dkt. # 67] at 5. Defendant also cites prosecution history. Id. at 5-6. Finally, Defendant argues that Plaintiff's proposal of “mechanically and electrically connected to” has no support in the intrinsic evidence. Id. at 6.

         Plaintiff replies that “fabricated” “is not defined or found anywhere in the patents, ” and Plaintiff reiterates that the specification discloses the use of daughterboards integrated to the motherboard of an HPC system. [Dkt. # 71] at 3.

         At the August 4, 2016 hearing, Defendant urged that the patentee's arguments during prosecution foreclose whatever additional scope the patentee may have originally attempted to encompass with Figure 3B.

         (2) Analysis

         Claim 1 of the '274 Patent, for example, recites (emphasis added):

1. A system for fault tolerance and recovery in a high-performance computing (HPC) system, the system for fault tolerance and recovery comprising:
a fabric coupling a plurality of nodes in an HPC system to each other, each node comprising a switching fabric integrated to a card and at least two processors integrated to the card;
storage coupled to the fabric and accessible to each of the nodes, the storage operable to store a plurality of hosts each executable at any of the nodes; and
a manager coupled to the fabric, the manager operable to monitor a currently running node in the HPC system executing a host and,
if a fault occurs at the currently running node, discontinue operation of the currently running node and boot the host at a free node in the HPC system from the storage.

         The '909 Patent likewise discloses that a switch can be "integrated" with a blade, and these disclosures include a switch that is illustrated as being separate from the motherboard:

Blade 315 is an integrated fabric architecture that distributes the fabric switching components uniformly across nodes 115 in grid 110 ... . More specifically, blade 315 includes an integrated switch 345.

'909 Patent at 7:57-62 (emphasis added). Figure 3B of the '909 Patent illustrates "N-Port Switch 345" as separate from the motherboard and is reproduced here:

         (Image Omitted)

         Further, Figure 3C of the '909 Patent illustrates a blade 315 with a "Daughter Board, " but the specification nonetheless states that "[b]lade 315 is an integrated fabric architecture." '909 Patent at 7:57 (emphasis added). Figure 3C is reproduced here:

         (Image Omitted)

         Defendant has cited prosecution history of the '909 Patent in which the patentee argued that the "Osten" reference failed to disclose utilizing a single board. Dec. 5, 2006 Response [Dkt. # 67-7] at 13-14. The claims at issue, however, recited "integrated on" or "integrated with" not integrated "to" or integrated "onto." Id. at 6-7, 9 & 13. Also, the patentee's arguments centered on components being separated by a backplane slot connector. See Id. at 12-14. On balance, Defendant has failed to show that the patentee made any definitive statement as to the disputed terms. See Omega Eng'g v. Raytek Corp., 334 F.3d 1314, 1324 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (“As a basic principle of claim interpretation, prosecution disclaimer promotes the public notice function of the intrinsic evidence and protects the public's reliance on definitive statements made during prosecution.”) (emphasis added); see also Golight, Inc. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 355 F.3d 1327, 1332 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (“Because the statements in the prosecution history are subject to multiple reasonable interpretations, they do not constitute a clear and unmistakable departure from the ordinary meaning of the term . . . .”).

         Later, during the same prosecution, the patentee argued that in the “Karpoff” reference “the CPUs and the switch reside on opposite sides of a server boundary, which clearly teaches away from the CPUs and the switch in Karpoff being integrated on the same motherboard, as independent Claim 1 recites.” May 29, 2007 Response [Dkt. # 67-9] at 7. Here again, the claim language at issue recited integrated “on” or “with, ” not integrated “to” or “onto, ” see Id. at 2-3 & 5, and the patentee focused on the distinction of a server boundary. See Omega Eng'g, 334 F.3d at 1324; see also Golight, 355 F.3d at 1332.

         Finally, above-reproduced Claim 1 of the '274 Patent recites “a fabric coupling a plurality of nodes in an HPC system to each other, each node comprising a switching fabric integrated to a card.” This recital of a fabric that connects multiple nodes but that is nonetheless “integrated to a card” reinforces that a structure need not be fabricated as part of whatever structure it is “integrated to.”

         The Court therefore expressly rejects Defendant's proposal of “fabricated on the same motherboard without the use of daughterboards or other components.” Nonetheless, “[t]he Court believes that some construction of the disputed claim language will assist the jury to understand the claims.” See TQP Dev., LLC v. Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., No. 2:08-CV-471, 2012 WL 1940849, at *2 (E.D. Tex. May 29, 2012) (Bryson, J.). As to Plaintiff's alternative proposal of “mechanically and electrically connect[ed/ing] to/onto, ” however, the word “connected” is potentially overbroad because it might be interpreted as allowing for many intermediate layers of connections. Instead, the word “affixed” more appropriately conveys the required degree of directness, particularly in light of surrounding claim language reciting that components are integrated to or onto a card or motherboard.

         The Court therefore construes “integrated onto, ” “integrating onto, ” and “integrated to” to mean “mechanically and electrically affix[ed/ing] [to/onto].”

         C. “associated with”

Plaintiff's Proposed Construction

Defendant's Proposed Construction

Plain and Ordinary Meaning, no construction necessary.

If the Court determines a construction is required, a PHOSITA would understand this term to mean, "related with."

"fabricated on the same motherboard without the use of daughterboards or other components"

         [Dkt. # 55] at 4; [Dkt. # 57] at 9; [Dkt. # 67] at 7; [Dkt. # 71] at 3. The parties submit that this disputed term appears in Claims 1 and 8 of the '833 Patent. [Dkt. # 55] at 4.

         Shortly before the start of the August 4, 2016 hearing, the Court provided the parties with the following preliminary construction: “plain meaning (reject defendant's argument that ‘associated with' has the same meaning as ‘integrated onto').'”

         (1) The Parties' Positions

         Plaintiff argues that “[t]he use of the ‘integrated' terms in claims of the '909 patent demonstrates that ‘associated with' means ‘related with, ' which is a separate and distinct meaning from the ‘integrated' terms.” [Dkt. # 57] at 10. Plaintiff also argues that Defendant's proposal would improperly exclude a disclosed embodiment. Id. at 10-11.

         Defendant responds that “[t]he entirety of the intrinsic record makes clear that ‘associated with' carries the same meaning as ‘integrated onto.'” [Dkt. # 67] at 7. Defendant urges that Plaintiff's proposal should be rejected because it is inconsistent with the prosecution history and because “the specification nowhere uses the term ‘associated with' to describe the relationship between processors, switches, and motherboards.” Id. at 9.

         Plaintiff replies that different terms are presumed to have different meanings, and “other than attorney argument that the (nonexistent) prosecution disclaimer of ‘integrated' in the '909 patent attaches to ‘associated' in the '833 patent, [Defendant] alleges no other support for limiting ‘associated with' as [Defendant] proposes.” [Dkt. # 71] at 4.

         (2) Analysis

         As a threshold matter, Defendant's proposed construction should be rejected for substantially the same reasons as discussed regarding the “integrated” terms, above, particularly as to the prosecution history cited by Defendant.

         As to Plaintiff's argument that “associated with” must have a meaning different from “integrated onto, ” Claim 1 of the '833 Patent for example recites “configuring at least two first processors to be associated with a first motherboard” and “configuring a first switch to be associated with the first motherboard and coupling the first switch to the first processors.” Plaintiff argues that different terms are presumed to have different meanings, but Plaintiff has not shown any instance in which “associated with” and “integrated with” appear in claims of the same patent, let alone within the same claim.

         Nonetheless, the specification uses “associated” as well as “integrated, ” and Defendant has not demonstrated that the terms are used interchangeably. See, e.g., '833 Patent at 4:33-34 (“management node 105 may periodically poll agent 132 to determine the status of the associated node 115”), 7:25-27 (“virtual cluster 220 may be associated with one research group, a department, a lab, or any other group of users likely to submit similar jobs 150”) & 16:53-55 (“Cluster management engine 130 then determines if a job 150 is associated with failed node 115 at decisional step 815.”); see also Id. at 8:48-50 (“PCI channel 325 comprises any high-speed, low latency link designed to increase the communication speed between integrated components.”).

         The Court therefore expressly rejects Defendant's proposal that “associated with” has the same meaning as “integrated onto.” No further construction is necessary. See U.S. Surgical Corp. v. Ethicon, Inc., 103 F.3d 1554, 1568 (Fed. Cir. 1997) (“Claim construction is a matter of resolution of disputed meanings and technical scope, to clarify and when necessary to explain what the patentee covered by the claims, for use in the determination of infringement. It is not an obligatory exercise in redundancy.”); see also O2 Micro Int'l Ltd. v. Beyond Innovation Tech. Co., 521 F.3d 1351, 1362 (Fed. Cir. 2008) (“[D]istrict courts are not (and should not be) required to construe every limitation present in a patent's asserted claims.”); Finjan, Inc. v. Secure Computing Corp., 626 F.3d 1197, 1207 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (“Unlike O2 Micro, where the court failed to resolve the parties' quarrel, the district court rejected Defendants' construction.”); ActiveVideo Networks, Inc. v. Verizon Commcn's, Inc., 694 F.3d 1312, 1326 (Fed. Cir. 2012); Summit 6, LLC v. Samsung Elecs. Co., Ltd., 802 F.3d 1283, 1291 (Fed. Cir. 2015).

         The Court accordingly construes “associated with” to have its plain meaning.

         D. “configured to communicate with each other via a direct link between them”

Plaintiff's Proposed Construction

Defendant's Proposed Construction

Plain and Ordinary Meaning, no construction necessary.

If the Court determines a construction is required, a PHOSITA would understand this term to mean, "configured to communicate with each other via a point-to-point link between them."

"capable of communicating with each other through locally connected cache or memory"

         [Dkt. # 55] at 4; [Dkt. # 57] at 11; [Dkt. # 67] at 10. The parties submit that this disputed term appears in Claims 1, 15, and 23 of the '909 Patent. [Dkt. # 55] at 4.

         Shortly before the start of the August 4, 2016 hearing, the Court provided the parties with the following preliminary construction: “plain meaning (reject defendant's proposal that communication must occur ‘through locally connected cache or memory').” At the August 4, 2016 hearing, the parties agreed to the Court's preliminary construction.

         The Court therefore expressly rejects Defendant's proposal that communication must occur “through locally connected cache or memory, ” and the Court construes “configured to communicate with each other via a direct link between them” to have its plain meaning.

         E. “the switches for each of the n>8 interconnected nodes are configured in a router-less manner such that each of the n>8 interconnected nodes has its own switch”

Plaintiff's Proposed Construction

Defendant's Proposed Construction

Plain and Ordinary Meaning, no construction necessary.

If the Court determines a construction is required, a PHOSITA would understand this term to mean, "the switches for each of the n>8 interconnected computing devices are configured such that each of the n>8 interconnected computing devices has its own switch."

"there is a 1-to-l correlation between nodes and switches and no routers are used to pass messages between nodes"

         [Dkt. # 55] at 4; [Dkt. # 57] at 12; [Dkt. # 67] at 11; [Dkt. # 71] at 4. The parties submit that this disputed term appears in Claims 1 and 8 of the '833 Patent. [Dkt. # 55] at 4.

         Shortly before the start of the August 4, 2016 hearing, the Court provided the parties with the following preliminary construction: “plain meaning (apart from the court's construction of the constituent term ‘nodes, ' which is addressed separately above).”

         (1) The Parties' Positions

         Plaintiff argues that the meaning of this term is evident from surrounding claim language. [Dkt. # 57] at 12. Plaintiff submits that Defendant's proposal “departs from the plain claim language” and “wholly omits the claim phrase ‘for each of the n>8 interconnected nodes.'” Id. Further, Plaintiff argues that the specification discloses each node has an integrated switch and explains the benefits of using a node with its own switch. Id. at 12-13. Plaintiff urges that “there is no support in the specification that each switch works exclusively with only one node, as [Defendant] proposes.” Id. at 13 (citation and alterations omitted).

         Defendant responds: “By the plain claim language, ‘each' node ‘has its own switch.' In other words, if there are 24 nodes, there must be 24 switches.” [Dkt. # 67] at 12. Defendant argues that this interpretation is consistent with the specification, and Defendant also cites prosecution history. Id.

         Plaintiff replies that “[t]he plain language of the claims defines ‘routerless manner, ' which is reflected in the ‘such that' portion of the claim.” [Dkt. # 71] at 4. Plaintiff also argues that neither the specification nor the prosecution history contain any statement requiring a one-to-one correlation between nodes and switches. Id.

         (2)Analy ...


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