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Raytheon Co. v. Cray, Inc.

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

July 18, 2017




         The Court previously held a claim construction hearing and entered a Claim Construction Memorandum and Order. (See Dkt. Nos. 78 & 263.) At a hearing on July 12, 2017, on Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend its Infringement Contentions (Dkt. No. 230), the Court ordered supplemental claim construction briefing to address an apparent claim construction dispute. (See Dkt. No. 302, July 12, 2017 Hr'g Tr.) Now before the Court are Plaintiff Raytheon Company's (“Plaintiff's” or “Raytheon's”) Brief Regarding “Motherboard” and “Card” (Dkt. No. 306) and Defendant Cray, Inc.'s (“Defendant's” or “Cray's”) response (Dkt. No. 307).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff has alleged infringement of United States Patents No. 7, 475, 274 (“the '274 Patent”), 8, 190, 714, 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. No. 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 '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. 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.


         It is understood that “[a] claim in a patent provides the metes and bounds of the right which the patent confers on the patentee to exclude others from making, using or selling the protected invention.” Burke, Inc. v. Bruno Indep. Living Aids, Inc., 183 F.3d 1334, 1340 (Fed. Cir. 1999). 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 ascertain the meaning of claims, courts look to three primary sources: the claims, the specification, and the prosecution history. Markman, 52 F.3d at 979. The specification must contain a written description of the invention that enables one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention. Id. A patent's claims must be read in view of the specification, of which they are a part. Id. For claim construction purposes, the description may act as a sort of dictionary, which explains the invention and may define terms used in the claims. Id. “One purpose for examining the specification is to determine if the patentee has limited the scope of the claims.” Watts v. XL Sys., Inc., 232 F.3d 877, 882 (Fed. Cir. 2000).

         Nonetheless, it is the function of the claims, not the specification, to set forth the limits of the patentee's invention. Otherwise, there would be no need for claims. SRI Int'l v. Matsushita Elec. Corp., 775 F.2d 1107, 1121 (Fed. Cir. 1985) (en banc). The patentee is free to be his own lexicographer, but any special definition given to a word must be clearly set forth in the specification. Intellicall, Inc. v. Phonometrics, Inc., 952 F.2d 1384, 1388 (Fed. Cir. 1992). Although the specification may indicate that certain embodiments are preferred, particular embodiments appearing in the specification will not be read into the claims when the claim language is broader than the embodiments. Electro Med. Sys., S.A. v. Cooper Life Sciences, Inc., 34 F.3d 1048, 1054 (Fed. Cir. 1994).

         This Court's claim construction analysis is substantially guided by the Federal Circuit's decision in Phillips v. AWH Corporation, 415 F.3d 1303 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc). In Phillips, the court set forth several guideposts that courts should follow when construing claims. In particular, the court reiterated that “the claims of a patent define the invention to which the patentee is entitled the right to exclude.” 415 F.3d at 1312 (quoting Innova/Pure Water, Inc. v. Safari Water Filtration Sys., Inc., 381 F.3d 1111, 1115 (Fed. Cir. 2004)). To that end, the words used in a claim are generally given their ordinary and customary meaning. Id. The ordinary and customary meaning of a claim term “is the meaning that the term would have to a person of ordinary skill in the art in question at the time of the invention, i.e., as of the effective filing date of the patent application.” Id. at 1313. This ...

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