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Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. v. T-Mobile US, Inc.

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

June 21, 2017

HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES CO. LTD, Plaintiff,
v.
T-MOBILE US, INC., Defendants, NOKIA SOLUTIONS AND NETWORKS U.S. LLC, NOKIA SOLUTIONS AND NETWORKS OY, TELEFONAKTIEBOLAGET LM ERICSSON, and ERICSSON INC., Intervenors.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ROY S. PAYNE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         On March 17, 2017, the Court held a hearing to determine the proper construction of the disputed claim terms in United States Patent Nos. 8, 625, 527 (“the '527 Patent”), 9, 060, 268 (“the '268 Patent”), and 9, 241, 261 (“the '261 Patent”) (collectively “the Asserted Patents”). The Court has considered the arguments made by the parties at the hearing and in their claim construction briefs. Dkt. Nos. 119, 125, & 135.[1] The Court has also considered the intrinsic evidence and made subsidiary factual findings about the extrinsic evidence. 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). The Court issues this Claim Construction Memorandum and Order in light of these considerations.

         TABLE OF CONTENTS

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

         II. APPLICABLE LAW ........................................................................................................ 12

         III. CONSTRUCTION OF AGREED TERMS ...................................................................... 17

         IV. CONSTRUCTION OF DISPUTED TERMS ................................................................... 18

         1. “Handover Anchor Function” / “HOAF, ” “Handover Anchor Function-Control Plane (HOAF-CP), ” “Handover Anchor Function User Plane” / “HOAF-UP” ...................................................................................................................... 18

         2. “User plane first connection between the HOSF and HOAF-UP” Terms .... 25

         3. “HOSF” and “HODF” .................................................................................. 29

         4. “Handover Control Function” / “HOCF” ..................................................... 33

         5. “idle state” and “idle mode” ......................................................................... 35

         6. “mobility management entity (MME)” ........................................................ 39

         7. “information for determining” ...................................................................... 43

         8. “receiver, ” “processor, ” and “transmitter” ................................................... 47

         9. Preamble of Claim 1 ..................................................................................... 56

         10. “[deriving/derives] a NAS protection key with the selected NAS security algorithm from the authentication vector-related key” ....................................... 59

         11. Claim 17 of the '261 Patent ........................................................................ 66

         12. “acquisition module, ” “selection module, ” and “key derivation module” . 69

         V. CONCLUSION ................................................................................................................. 78

         I.BACKGROUND

         A. The '527 Patent

         The '527 Patent was filed on January 3, 2007, issued on January 7, 2014, and is titled “Method and System for Maintaining Session Continuity When Changes Occur at the Terminal During a Session.” The '527 Patent relates “to a method and a system for maintaining session continuity when a user changes access address or access technology of a terminal, or even changes the terminal in a session.” Id. at 1:20-24. The specification states “the present invention may logically replace an original session connection established before a handover with a new session connection established after the handover to guarantee the session continuity.” Id. at 4:37-45. Figures 2A illustrates an embodiment of performing a session handover in a terminal-controlled mode.

(Image Omitted.)

Id. at Figure 2A. The specification states that “the system, which is applicable to a network supporting multiple access technologies, includes at least: an HOSF [Handover Source Function], an HODF [Handover Destination Function], an HOAF [Handover Anchor Function] and a Handover Detection Function.” Id. at 8:2-6. The specification further states that “[t]he HOAF includes a control plane and a user plane, i.e., an HOAF-CP and an HOAF-UP, ” and that “[t]he HOSF and the HODF are directly connected with the HOAF-CP and the HOAF-UP respectively.” Id. at 8:6-10. The specification adds:

The connection between the HOSF and the HOAF-CP and the connection between the HOSF and the HOAF-UP respectively correspond to the control plane connection and the user plane connection established before the handover. The two connections are illustrated with dotted lines. The connection between the HODF and the HOAF-CP and the connection between the HODF and the HOAF-UP respectively correspond to the control plane connection and the user plane connection established after the handover, and they are illustrated with solid lines.”

Id. at 8:10-20. The specification also states that “[t]he HOSF is used for establishing a control plane first connection with the HOAF-CP and a user plane first connection with the HOAF-UP when the first user initiates or accepts a session, ” and that “[t]he HODF is used for establishing a control plane second connection with the HOAF-CP and a user plane second connection with the HOAF-UP when the handover condition is satisfied.” Id. at 8:32-39. The specification adds that “[t]he HOAF-CP is used for establishing a control plane first connection with the HOSF when the first user initiates or accepts a session; establishing a control plane second connection with the HODF when the handover condition is satisfied; replacing the control plane first connection with the HOSF with the control plane second connection with the HODF, and indicating the HOAF-UP to replace the user plane first connection between the HOAF-UP and the HOSF with the user plane second connection between the HOAF-UP and the HODF.” Id. at 8:40-49. The specification concludes the method by stating that “[a]fter establishing the second connection with the HODF, the HOAF-CP and the HOSF release the first connection between them, and the two users can continue the session through the second connection.” Id. at 9:21-24.

         Claim 1 of the '527 Patent is an exemplary claim and recites the following elements:

1. A method for maintaining session continuity, comprising:
triggering a Handover Anchor Function-Control Plane (HOAF-CP) on a home network side of a first user, and establishing a first connection, wherein the first connection comprises a control plane first connection between a Handover Source Function (HOSF) of the first user and the HOAF-CP and a user plane first connection between the HOSF and a Handover Anchor Function-User Plane (HOAF-UP) of a second user; establishing a control plane connection between the HOAF-CP and a terminal side of the second user, and establishing a session between the first user and the second user through the user plane first connection, the control plane first connection and the control plane connection between the HOAF-CP and a terminal side of the second user;
determining that a handover condition is satisfied, and establishing a second connection, wherein the second connection comprises a control plane second connection between a Handover Destination Function (HODF) of the first user and the HOAF-CP and a user plane second connection between the HODF and the HOAF-UP; and
continuing the session between the first user and the second user through the user plane second connection between the HODF and the HOAF-UP, the control plane second connection between the HODF and the HOAF-CP, and the control plane connection, which is already established between the HOAF-CP and the terminal side of the second user before the handover condition is satisfied.

         B. The '261 Patent

         The '261 Patent was filed on June 12, 2014, issued on January 19, 2016, and is titled “Method, System, and Device for Negotiating Security Capability When Terminal Moves.” The '261 Patent is generally “directed to a method for negotiating a security capability when a terminal moves, so that when moving from a 2G/3G network to an LTE network, a UE in an idle state can negotiate a security capability.” '261 Patent at 2:13-16. Figure 1 is a flow chart of a method for negotiating a security capability when a terminal moves.

(Image Omitted.)

Id. at Figure 1. The specification states that “[i]n step 100, a UE [user equipment] sends a TAU [tracking area update] request to an MME [mobility management entity].” Id. at 4:47. The specification further discloses that “[t]he TAU request sent from the UE to the MME in this step not only carries some parameters such as a temporary mobile subscriber identity (TMSI) known to persons skilled in the art, but may also carry security capability information supported by the UE.” Id. at 4:54-58. The specification adds that the “[t]he security capability information includes an NAS security algorithm (an NAS integrity protection algorithm and/or an NAS confidentiality protection algorithm), and may also include an RRC security algorithm (an RRC integrity protection algorithm and/or an RRC confidentiality protection algorithm) or a UP security algorithm (a UP confidentiality protection algorithm).” Id. at 4:58-64.

         The specification further states that “[i]n steps 101-102, the MME acquires an NAS security algorithm supported by the UE, and sends a mobility management context request message to an SGSN.” Id. at 4:65-67. “After receiving the message, the SGSN sends a mobility management context response message carrying an authentication vector-related key to the MME.” Id. at 4:67-5:3. The specification adds that “[i]n step 103, the MME selects a new NAS security algorithm, according to the NAS security algorithm supported by the UE and an NAS security algorithm supported by the MME as well as an NAS security algorithm allowed by the system, derives a root key Kasme according to the authentication vector-related key, and then derives an NAS protection key according to the Kasme.” Id. at 5:32-38. The specification further states that “[t]he NAS protection key includes an NAS integrity protection key Knas-int and/or an NAS confidentiality protection key Knas-enc.” Id. at 5:38-40.

         The specification next states that “[i]n step 104, the MME generates a TAU accept message carrying the selected NAS security algorithm.” Id. at 5:41-42. The specification discloses that “[t]he TAU accept message in this step may further carry security capability information supported by the UE.” Id. at 5:52-53. The specification concludes that “[i]n step 105, the UE receives the TAU accept message carrying the NAS security algorithm selected by the MME, and acquires the negotiated NAS security algorithm; and then derives a root key Kasme according to a current authentication vector-related key thereof (for example, the IK and the CK, or the IK' and the CK' derived according to the IK and the CK when the originating network is the 3G, or the Kc or the Kc' derived according to the Kc when the originating network is the 2G), and derives an NAS protection key according to the root key.” Id. at 5:54- 63.

         Claim 1 of the '261 Patent is an exemplary claim and recites the following elements (disputed term in italics):

1. A method of security negotiation for idle state mobility from a first network to a long term evolution (LTE) network using a mobility management entity (MME), the method comprising:
transmitting an authentication vector-related key from a service general packet radio service (GPRS) support node (SGSN) in the first network to the MME;
receiving security capabilities of a user equipment (UE)
including non-access stratum (NAS) security capabilities of the UE from the UE;
selecting a NAS security algorithm supported by the NAS security capabilities of the UE;
sending a message that indicates the selected NAS security algorithm to the UE; and
deriving a NAS protection key with the selected NAS security algorithm from the authentication vector-related key.

         C. The '268 Patent

         The '268 Patent was filed on March 4, 2010, issued on June 16, 2015, and is titled “Negotiating Security Capabilities During Movement of UE.” The '268 Patent is generally directed to “a method for negotiating security capabilities during movement of a UE, so that the security capabilities can be negotiated when the UE in the idle state moves from an LTE network to a 2G/3G network.” '268 Patent at 1:66-2:3. Figure 1 is a flow chart of a method for negotiating security capabilities during movement of a UE.

(Image Omitted.)

Id. at Figure 1. The specification states that at “Step 100: The UE [User equipment] sends an RAU [Routing Area Update] Request to the 3G SGSN [Serving GPRS Support Node] through an RNC [Radio Network Controller].” Id. at 4:16-17. The specification discloses that “[t]he RAU Request sent by the UE to the 3G SGSN in this step not only carries the parameters well known to those skilled in the art, for example, Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identifier (TMSI), but also may carries the security capabilities supported by the UE, for example, a ciphering algorithm and/or an integrity protection algorithm.” Id. at 4:18-23.

         The specification further states that at “Steps 101-103: The 3G SGSN obtains the AV-related keys from the MME through a mobility management context message, where the AV-related keys are deduced according to the root key.” Id. at 4:24-27. The specification adds that “[t]he MME deduces the AV-related keys through a unidirectional transformation function according to its own root key Kasme, where the AV-related keys include an integrity protection key IK and a ciphering key CK, or an IK' and a CK' further derived from the IK and the CK through unidirectional transformation by the MME; then the MME returns a mobility management context response that carries the AV-related keys to the 3G SGSN; and the 3G SGSN uses the AV-related keys as the current ciphering key and integrity protection key.” Id. at 4:29-38.

         The specification further states that at “Steps 104-106: The 3G SGSN sends a Security Mode Command (SMC) message to the RNC.” Id. at 4:51-52. The specification discloses that “[t]he message carries the security capabilities supported by the UE, security capabilities allowed by the system, and a security key.” Id. at 4:52-54. The specification further states that “the RNC selects security algorithms, including a ciphering algorithm and an integrity protection algorithm, and then sends an SMC message that carries the security capabilities supported by the UE and the selected security algorithm to the UE.” Id. at 4:57-61.

         The specification next states that at “Steps 107-109: The UE deduces the AV-related keys according to its own root key, where the AV-related keys include IK and CK, or an IK' and a CK' further derived from the IK and the CK through unidirectional transformation, and uses them as the current ciphering key and integrity protection key respectively.” Id. at 4:64-5:2. “[T]he UE, . . . then sends an SMC Complete message to the RNC, ” and “[t]he RNC sends an SMC Complete message that carries the selected security algorithm to the 3G SGSN.” Id. at 5:2- 7. The specification concludes that at “Steps 110-111: The 3G SGSN sends an RAU Accept message to the UE, ” and “[a]fter receiving the message, the UE returns an RAU Complete message to the 3G SGSN.” Id. at 5:8-11.

         Claim 2 of the '268 Patent is an exemplary claim and recites the following elements (disputed term in italics):

2. A mobility management entity (MME) of a long term evolution (LTE) network for negotiating security keys, comprising:
a receiver configured to receive a context request for requesting a mobility management context sent by a serving GPRS support node (SGSN) in a second or third generation (2G/3G) network according to a routing area update (RAU) request from a user equipment (UE) in an idle mode;
a processor configured to deduce authentication vector (AV)-related keys according to a root key of the MME, wherein the AV-related keys comprise an Integrity Protection Key (IK) and a Ciphering Key (CK), or comprise values derived from the IK and the CK through an unidirectional transformation; and
a transmitter configured to send the mobility management context to the SGSN, wherein the mobility management context comprises information for determining security capacities supported by the UE and the AV-related keys.

         II.APPLICABLE LAW

         A. Claim Construction

         “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)). To determine the meaning of the claims, courts start by considering the intrinsic evidence. Id. at 1313; 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. Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1314; C.R. Bard, Inc., 388 F.3d at 861. The general rule-subject to certain specific exceptions discussed infra-is that each claim term is construed according to its 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 patent. Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1312-13; Alloc, Inc. v. Int'l Trade Comm'n, 342 F.3d 1361, 1368 (Fed. Cir. 2003); Azure Networks, LLC v. CSR PLC, 771 F.3d 1336, 1347 (Fed. Cir. 2014) (“There is a heavy presumption that claim terms carry their accustomed meaning in the relevant community at the relevant time.”) (vacated on other grounds).

         “The claim construction inquiry. . . begins and ends in all cases with the actual words of the claim.” Renishaw PLC v. Marposs Societa' per Azioni, 158 F.3d 1243, 1248 (Fed. Cir. 1998). “[I]n all aspects of claim construction, ‘the name of the game is the claim.'” Apple Inc. v. Motorola, Inc., 757 F.3d 1286, 1298 (Fed. Cir. 2014) (quoting In re Hiniker Co., 150 F.3d 1362, 1369 (Fed. Cir. 1998)). First, a term's context in the asserted claim can be instructive. Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1314. Other asserted or unasserted claims can also 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 independent 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. (quoting Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., 52 F.3d 967, 979 (Fed. Cir. 1995) (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.'” Id. (quoting Vitronics Corp. v. Conceptronic, Inc., 90 F.3d 1576, 1582 (Fed. Cir. 1996)); Teleflex, Inc. v. Ficosa N. Am. Corp., 299 F.3d 1313, 1325 (Fed. Cir. 2002). 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)); see also Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1323. “[I]t is improper to read limitations from a preferred embodiment described in the specification-even if it is the only embodiment-into the claims absent a clear indication in the intrinsic record that the patentee intended the claims to be so limited.” Liebel-Flarsheim Co. v. Medrad, Inc., 358 F.3d 898, 913 (Fed. Cir. 2004).

         The prosecution history is another tool to supply the proper context for claim construction because, like the specification, the prosecution history provides evidence of how the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) and the inventor understood the patent. Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1317. However, “because the prosecution history represents an ongoing negotiation between the PTO and the applicant, rather than the final product of that negotiation, it often lacks the clarity of the specification and thus is less useful for claim construction purposes.” Id. at 1318; see also Athletic Alternatives, Inc. v. Prince Mfg., 73 F.3d 1573, 1580 (Fed. Cir. 1996) (ambiguous prosecution history may be “unhelpful as an interpretive resource”).

         Although extrinsic evidence can also 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 (quoting C.R. Bard, Inc., 388 F.3d at 862). 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. The Supreme Court recently explained the role of extrinsic evidence in claim construction:

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. See, e.g., Seymour v. Osborne, 11 Wall. 516, 546 (1871) (a patent may be “so interspersed with technical terms and terms of art that the testimony of scientific witnesses is indispensable to a correct understanding of its meaning”). 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.

Teva Pharm. USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc., 135 S.Ct. 831, 841 (2015).

         B. Functional Claiming and 35 U.S.C. § 112, ¶ 6 (pre-AIA)/§ 112(f) (AIA)[2]

         A patent claim may be expressed using functional language. See 35 U.S.C. § 112, ¶ 6; Williamson v. Citrix Online, LLC, 792 F.3d 1339, 1347-49 & n.3 (Fed. Cir. 2015) (en banc in relevant portion). Section 112, Paragraph 6, provides that a structure may be claimed as a “means . . . for performing a specified function” and that an act may be claimed as a “step for performing a specified function.” Masco Corp. v. United States, 303 F.3d 1316, 1326 (Fed. Cir. 2002).

         But § 112, ¶ 6 does not apply to all functional claim language. There is a rebuttable presumption that § 112, ¶ 6 applies when the claim language includes “means” or “step for” terms, and that it does not apply in the absence of those terms. Masco Corp., 303 F.3d at 1326; Williamson, 792 F.3d at 1348. The presumption stands or falls according to whether one of ordinary skill in the art would understand the claim with the functional language, in the context of the entire specification, to denote sufficiently definite structure or acts for performing the function. See Media Rights Techs., Inc. v. Capital One Fin. Corp., 800 F.3d 1366, 1372 (Fed. Cir. 2015) (§ 112, ¶ 6 does not apply when “the claim language, read in light of the specification, recites sufficiently definite structure” (quotation marks omitted) (citing Williamson, 792 F.3d at 1349; Robert Bosch, LLC v. Snap-On Inc., 769 F.3d 1094, 1099 (Fed. Cir. 2014))); Williamson, 792 F.3d at 1349 (§ 112, ¶ 6 does not apply when “the words of the claim are understood by persons of ordinary skill in the art to have sufficiently definite meaning as the name for structure”); Masco Corp., 303 F.3d at 1326 (§ 112, ¶ 6 does not apply when the claim includes an “act” corresponding to “how the function is performed”); Personalized Media Communications, L.L.C. v. International Trade Commission, 161 F.3d 696, 704 (Fed. Cir. 1998) (§ 112, ¶ 6 does not apply when the claim includes “sufficient structure, material, or acts within the claim itself to perform entirely the recited function . . . even if the claim uses the term ‘means.'” (quotation marks and citation omitted)).

         When it applies, § 112, ¶ 6 limits the scope of the functional term “to only the structure, materials, or acts described in the specification as corresponding to the claimed function and equivalents thereof.” Williamson, 792 F.3d at 1347. Construing a means-plus-function limitation involves multiple steps. “The first step . . . is a determination of the function of the means-plus-function limitation.” Medtronic, Inc. v. Advanced Cardiovascular Sys., Inc., 248 F.3d 1303, 1311 (Fed. Cir. 2001). “[T]he next step is to determine the corresponding structure disclosed in the specification and equivalents thereof.” Id. A “structure disclosed in the specification is ‘corresponding' structure only if the specification or prosecution history clearly links or associates that structure to the function recited in the claim.” Id. The focus of the “corresponding structure” inquiry is not merely whether a structure is capable of performing the recited function, but rather whether the corresponding structure is “clearly linked or associated with the [recited] function.” Id. The corresponding structure “must include all structure that actually performs the recited function.” Default Proof Credit Card Sys. v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 412 F.3d 1291, 1298 (Fed. Cir. 2005). However, § 112 does not permit “incorporation of structure from the written description beyond that necessary to perform the claimed function.” Micro Chem., Inc. v. Great Plains Chem. Co., 194 F.3d 1250, 1258 (Fed. Cir. 1999).

         For § 112, ¶ 6 limitations implemented by a programmed general purpose computer or microprocessor, the corresponding structure described in the patent specification must include an algorithm for performing the function. WMS Gaming Inc. v. Int'l Game Tech., 184 F.3d 1339, 1349 (Fed. Cir. 1999). The corresponding structure is not a general purpose computer but rather the special purpose computer programmed to perform the disclosed algorithm. Aristocrat Techs. Austl. Pty Ltd. v. Int'l Game Tech., 521 F.3d 1328, 1333 (Fed. Cir. 2008).

         III. CONSTRUCTION OF AGREED TERMS

         The parties agreed to the construction of the following phrase:

Claim Term/Phrase

Agreed Construction

Preamble ('268 Patent, claims 1, 2)

The preamble is limiting.

         Docket No. 141-1 at 10. In view of the parties' agreement on the proper construction of the identified terms, the Court hereby ADOPTS the parties' agreed construction.

         During the claim construction hearing, the parties agreed to the construction of the following phrase:

Claim Term/Phrase

Agreed Construction

“[a/the] handover condition is satisfied” ('527 Patent, claims 1, 12, 13, 29, 36, 37, 41)

Plain and ordinary meaning

         The parties originally disputed whether the phrase “[a/the] handover condition is satisfied” means a “handover is needed, ” as Plaintiff proposed, or whether it means that “requirement for performing a handover is met, ” as Defendants proposed. The parties agreed during the hearing that the phrase should be given its plain and ordinary meaning. The Court agrees and finds that the phrase is unambiguous and easily understandable by a jury. The Court further finds that the parties did not provide persuasive reasoning for their proposed constructions. Accordingly, the Court agrees with the parties that the phrase “[a/the] handover condition is satisfied” should be given its plain and ordinary meaning.

         After the claim construction hearing, the parties agreed to the construction of the following phrase:

Claim Term/Phrase

Agreed Construction

“terminal side of a second user” / “terminal side of the second user” ('527 Patent, claims 1, 12, 13, 29, 36, 37, 41)

“[a/the] second user's User Equipment (UE) when the second user is on an IP-based network, otherwise, [a/the] second user's UE, an interworking gateway, and the connection between them if the second user is in the CS domain/PSTN.”

         Docket No. 174 at 1. In view of the parties' agreement on the proper construction of the identified phrase, the Court hereby ADOPTS the parties' agreed construction.

         IV. CONSTRUCTION OF DISPUTED TERMS

         The parties' dispute focuses on the meaning and scope of twenty-two terms/phrases in the Asserted Patents.

         1. “Handover Anchor Function” / “HOAF, ” “Handover Anchor Function-Control Plane (HOAF-CP), ” “Handover Anchor Function User Plane” / “HOAF-UP”

Disputed Term

Plaintiff's Proposal

Defendants' Proposal

“Handover Anchor Function” / “HOAF

Not a claim term. See “HOAF-CP” and “HOAP-UP.

“module for handover that separates two connections and supports segmented exchange between the first user and the second user”

“Handover Anchor Function-Control Plane (HOAF-CP)

Plain meaning.

“HOAF for the control plane”

“Handover Anchor Function-User Plane (HOAF-UP)”

Plain meaning.

“HOAF for the user plane”

         a) The Parties' Positions

         The parties dispute whether the term “Handover Anchor Function”/“HOAF” should be construed. Plaintiff contends that the term does not appear in the claims, and therefore should not be construed. Defendants argue that “HOAF” is “a claim term for the simple reason that it appears in the claims, ” and that the specification refers to the HOAF-CP and HOAF-UP as parts of the HOAF. (Dkt. No. 125 at 13). The parties also dispute whether the terms “Handover Anchor Function-Control Plane (HOAF-CP)” and “Handover Anchor Function User Plane (HOAF-UP)” require construction. Plaintiff contends that no construction is required because the claims themselves adequately define these terms. Defendants contend that there is no plain meaning for “Handover Anchor Function” / “HOAF, ” and that the actual dispute is whether the term “Handover Anchor Function” should be construed.

Plaintiff argues that specification is clear that HOAF-CP and HOAF-UP are two subcomponents of HOAF. (Dkt. No. 119 at 12). Plaintiff contends that Defendants ask the Court to construe a term (i.e., HOAF) not recited in the claims. Id. Plaintiff further argues that no construction is required for “HOAF-CP” and “HOAF-UP” because the claims themselves adequately define these terms. Id. Plaintiff argues that “handover, ” “user plane, ” and “control plane” are well-known terms of art in telecommunications. Id. Plaintiff further contends that the remainder of the claims recites additional details that inform the reader about the nature of the HOAF-CP and HOAF-UP terms. Id.

         Regarding Defendants' constructions, Plaintiff argues that Defendants replace the word “function” with “module.” (Id. at 13). Plaintiff also argues that Defendants' proposal of “support[] segmented exchange between the first user and second user” is not used in the specification. Id. According to Plaintiff, Defendants' constructions unnecessarily raise questions without resolution. Id.

         Defendants respond that there is no plain meaning for “Handover Anchor Function” / “HOAF.” (Dkt. No. 125 at 9) (citing Dkt. No. 125-1 at ¶ 36.). Defendants argue that the specification indicates that the “HOAF” is used for handover and is responsible for passing data from a connection on one of its sides to a connection on its other side. (Dkt. No. 125 at 10) (citing '527 Patent at 25:33-38; Dkt. No. 125-1 at ¶ 38). Defendants also argue that a “HOAF” acts as an exchange point. (Dkt. No. 125 at 10) (citing Dkt. No. 125-1 at ¶¶ 37-38; '527 Patent at 25:15-27:39, Fig. 5D). Defendants also contend that the prosecution history confirms that a ...


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