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Intellectual Ventures II LLC v. Fedex Corp.

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

November 29, 2017

INTELLECTUAL VENTURES II LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
FEDEX CORPORATION, FEDERAL EXPRESS CORPORATION, FEDEX GROUND PACKAGE SYSTEM, INC., FEDEX FREIGHT, INC., FEDEX CUSTOM CRITICAL, INC., FEDEX OFFICE AND PRINT SERVICES, INC., GENCO DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM, INC., Defendants, Claim Term/Phrase Agreed Construction Claim Term/Phrase Agreed Construction Disputed Term Plaintiff's Proposal Defendants' Proposal Disputed Term Plaintiff's Proposal Defendants' Proposal

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          RODNEY GILSTRAP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On October 26, 2017, the Court held a hearing to determine the proper construction of the disputed claim terms in United States Patent Nos. 6, 633, 900 (“the '900 Patent”); 6, 909, 356 (“the '356 Patent”); 7, 199, 715 (“the '715 Patent”); 8, 494, 581 (“the '581 Patent”); and 9, 047, 586 (“the '586 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. 91, 102, 106, & 119.[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 ................................................................................................................ 5

         II. APPLICABLE LAW .......................................................................................................... 9

         III. CONSTRUCTION OF AGREED TERMS ...................................................................... 13

         IV. CONSTRUCTION OF DISPUTED TERMS ................................................................... 15

         A. “mobile field unit” (term 1) and “a system having an enterprise computing system and at least one mobile field unit” (term 2) ............................................. 15

         B. “field crew” (term 3) .................................................................................... 21

         C. “in response to the input of field crew login data” (term 5) ........................ 25

         D. “verifying field crew identity” (term 6) ....................................................... 27

         E. “retrieving detailed assignment data” (term 8) ............................................ 29

         F. “obtaining identity information regarding an entity which enters a controlled space” (term 9) .................................................................................................... 32

         G. “automatically associating . . . the identity information regarding the entity with status information regarding additions, removals, returns, defective status, or movements of the objects to/from/within the controlled space” (term 11) .... 39

         H. “notifying the user of whether or not the addition, removal, return, defective status, or movement of the objects is authorized or not” (term 13) .................... 44

         I. “monitoring, using a wireless tracking system . . . locations and movements of the entity and objects” (term 10) ..................................................................... 46

         J. “tracking tags at several successive points of [a/the] business process” (term 14) and “each tag at each successive point” (term 15) ........................................ 49

         K. “populating a database with information corresponding to the reading of each tag at each [successive point/tag reading point] and the time of each reading” (term 16) ............................................................................................... 54

         L. “track the tags through the business process” (term 18), “modifying part of the information in the database”/ “modified data” (used in terms 17, 18, 19, 20, 22), “as a function of” (used in terms 17, 19, 20), “other information” (used in term 17) ............................................................................................................... 57

         M. “a tool for modifying part of the information stored in the database as a function of other information stored in the database whereby the modified information is used to track the tags through the business process” (term 22) ... 65

         N. “handheld device” (term 24) ........................................................................ 69

         O. “access an assessment program” (term 25) and “download a field management program” (term 26) ........................................................................ 72

         P. “position module” (term 27) and “communication module” (term 28) ....... 77

         Q. “means for accessing a program stored at the server to enable an assessment at the field using the at least one handheld device” (term 30) ............................ 83

         R. “means for managing data collected at the field using the at least one handheld device responsive to program” (term 31) ............................................ 87

         S. “means for enabling communicating the data collected at the field and the geographic location of the at least one handheld device between the at least one handheld device and other devices or the server” (term 33) ............................... 90

         T. “means for tracking a location of the at least one handheld device” (term 34) 94

         U. “means for enabling updating field operation assignments for each of the at least one handheld device” (term 35) .................................................................. 97

         V. “means for providing data to the server for analysis” (term 36) ............... 100

         W. “means for retrieving enhanced data from the server for use in conducting the field assessment” (term 37) ......................................................................... 104

         X. “data tag(s)” (term 41) ............................................................................... 108

         Y. “an identifier identifying one of the data items” (term 43) ........................ 115

         Z. “data field associated with one of the data tags” (term 49) ........................ 118

         AA. “wherein the plurality of bar codes encode respective data tags and data items” (term 42) ................................................................................................ 120

         BB. “means for decoding the plurality of bar codes to recover the respective data tags and data items” (term 48) ................................................................... 123

         CC. “means for receiving an electronic document comprising a plurality of bar codes” (term 47) ................................................................................................ 128

         DD. “sending the electronic document” (term 44) ......................................... 131

         EE. “operations for data interchange” / “data interchange” (term 38) ........... 133

         FF. “creating an electronic document” (term 39) ........................................... 135

         GG. “electronic document having a plurality of bar codes” / “electronic document comprising a plurality of bar codes” (term 40) ................................ 137

         HH. “decoding of a first one of the plurality of bar codes to recover a first data tag and a first data item” (term 45) ................................................................... 140

         II. “combining the first data tag and the first data item with a second data tag and a second data item recovered from a second one of the plurality of bar codes” (term 46) ................................................................................................ 142

         V. CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................... 143

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. The '900 Patent

         The '900 Patent was filed on January 8, 1999, issued on October 14, 2003, and is titled “Mobile Crew Management System for Distributing Work Order Assignments to Mobile Field Crew Units.” The '900 Patent relates to a system for multi-crew management that includes “an enterprise computing system, a mobile field unit, and wireless communication network which supports terminal control protocol/internet protocol (TCP/IP).” '900 at Abstract. The specification states that the enterprise computing network includes “application programs through which work orders may be assigned and managed, various server machines containing data related to the work orders, a local area network (LAN) connecting the server machines, and a gateway to the TCP/IP wireless network.” Id. The specification further states that the mobile field unit includes “a computing device and modem for communicating over the wireless network to the enterprise computing system.” Id. The specification adds that “[a] mobile field unit and each machine in the enterprise computing system has a unique IP address assigned to it.” Id.

         Claim 1 of the '900 Patent is an exemplary claim and recites the following elements (disputed term in italics):

1. A method for distributing work order assignment data to a field crew using a system having an enterprise computing system and at least one mobile field unit, comprising the following steps:
(A) updating a database on the enterprise computing system to indicate an assignment has been assigned to the field crew;
(B) notifying the field crew of the assignment;
(C) in response to the input of field crew login data, verifying field crew identity;
(D) notifying the field crew of successful login;
(E) retrieving and presenting a list of assignments to the field crew;
(F) in response to field crew input selecting an assignment from the list of assignments, retrieving detailed assignment data for the selected assignment;
(G) displaying the detailed assignment data to the field crew; and (H) in response to field crew input identifying an action was taken with regard to the assignment, updating the detailed assignment data.

         B. The '356 Patent

         The '356 Patent was filed on November 2, 2001, issued on June 21, 2005, and is titled “Method and Apparatus for Associating the Movement of Goods with the Identity of an Individual Moving the Goods.” The '356 Patent relates to a tracking system that “monitors an entity that enters a controlled space and the addition, removal, or other movement or status changes of objects in the controlled space.” '356 Patent at Abstract. The specification discloses a computer system that is “coupled to the tracking system, automatically associates the addition, removal or other movement or status changes of the objects with the identity of the entity and transmits this information to a server computer system.” Id. The specification adds that “[a] user may subsequently access this information through one or more client computers coupled to the server computer system.” Id. The specification further states that “[t]he server computer system may also automatically notify a user or other computer systems, e.g., through a network interface, wireless interface, or telephone interface, when objects in the controlled space have been moved or the status has been changed and/or whether such movement or status change is authorized or not.” Id.

         Claim 1 of the '356 Patent is an exemplary claim and recites the following elements (disputed term in italics):

1. A method, comprising:
obtaining identity information regarding an entity which enters a controlled space;
monitoring, using a wireless tracking system communicatively coupled to a computer system, locations and movements of the entity and objects within the controlled space
automatically associating, using the computer system, the identity information regarding the entity with status information regarding additions, removals, returns, defective status, or movements of the objects to/from/within the controlled space; and
transmitting the status information and the associated identity information to a server communicatively coupled to the computer system and configured to automatically notify a user of the status information, wherein at least one of the objects is automatically returned or picked up as a result of such notification.

         C. The '715 Patent

         The '715 Patent was filed on March 1, 2005, issued on April 3, 2007, and is titled “System and Method for Tracking ID Tags Using a Data Structure of Tag Reads.” The '715 Patent relates to “[a] system and method of tracking tags at several successive points of a business process.” '715 at Abstract. The specification states that “[a] reader attempts to read each tag at each successive point, ” and that “[a] processor populates a database with information corresponding to the reading of each tag at each successive point and the time of each reading.” Id. The specification adds that “[a] tool modifies part of the information in the database as a function of other information in the database.” Id. The specification concludes that “[t]he modified information is used to track the tags through the business process.” Id.

         Claim 1 of the '715 Patent is an exemplary claim and recites the following elements (disputed term in italics):

1. A method of tracking tags at several successive points of a business process, said method comprising:
attempting to read each tag at each successive point;
populating a database with information corresponding to the reading of each tag at each successive point and the time of each reading;
modifying part of the information in the database as a function of other information in the database; and
using the modified information to track the tags through the business process.

         D. The '581 Patent

         The '581 Patent was filed on August 25, 2009, issued on July 23, 2013, and is titled “System and Methods for Management of Mobile Field Assets via Wireless Handheld Devices.” The '581 Patent relates to using enterprise servers to communicate to handheld devices in the field to support dispatch, data synchronization, logistics and personnel. '581 Patent at Abstract. The specification states that “[b]i-directional data delivery from enterprise-based servers over wireless data networks is enabled using wireless capabilities resident in handheld personal computing devices.” Id. The specification further states that “[r]eal time communications facilitates real-time access to remote programs, assistance and/or information related to the field operations and asset (personnel and inventory) resource management.” Id.

         Claim 7 of the '581 Patent is an exemplary claim and recites the following elements (disputed term in italics):

7. A handheld device, comprising:
a communication module configured to download a field management program stored in a computing device located remotely from the handheld device;
]a memory configured to store the field management program after the download;
a position module configured to enable identifying a geographic location of the handheld device; and a
processor configured to execute the stored field management program to enable collecting field data associated with a field assessment while at a field;
wherein the communication module is further configured to communicate the field data and the geographic location of the handheld device to the computing device.

         E. The '586 Patent

         The '586 Patent was filed on March 9, 2012, issued on June 2, 2015, and is titled “Systems for Tagged Bar Code Data Interchange.” The '586 Patent relates to a method of tagged bar code data interchange that “includes creating electronic and/or printed documents with tagged bar coded information, capturing and decoding the tagged bar coded information, caching the tagged bar coded information, parsing the bar coded data tags, stripping the data tags, and inputting/storing the bar coded information.” '586 Patent at Abstract. The specification states that the “[b]usiness can be conducted on-line using e-mail transmissions of video displayed tagged bar coded information.” Id. The specification further states that “[s]uch tagged bar coded information can be stored and/or input into style sheets that are in common or company-specific formats.” Id. The specification adds that “companies can receive consumer information in a format that is easily accessible by any portion, affiliate, subsidiary, or related entity of the company, no matter what software system is running.” Claim 7 of the '586 Patent is an exemplary claim and recites the following elements (disputed term in italics):

7. A computer-readable storage device storing computer executable instructions that are executable by a computer system to cause the computer system to perform operations for data interchange, the operations comprising:
creating an electronic document having a plurality of bar codes, wherein the plurality of bar codes encode respective data tags and data items, and wherein at least one of the data tags includes an identifier identifying one of the data items; and
sending the electronic document for decoding of a first one of the plurality of bar codes to recover a first data tag and a first data item.

         II. APPLICABLE LAW

         This Court's claim construction analysis is guided by the Federal Circuit's decision in Phillips v. AWH Corporation, 415 F.3d 1303 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc). In Phillips, the Federal Circuit 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. The starting point in construing such claims is their ordinary and customary meaning, which “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 1312-13.

         However, Phillips made clear that “the person of ordinary skill in the art is deemed to read the claim term not only in the context of the particular claim in which the disputed term appears, but in the context of the entire patent, including the specification.” Id. at 1313. For this reason, the specification is often ‘the single best guide to the meaning of a disputed term.'” Id.at 1315. However, it is the claims, not the specification, which set forth the limits of the patentee's invention. Id. at 1312. Thus, “it 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). Other asserted or unasserted claims can also aid in determining a claim's meaning. See, e.g., Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1314 (use of “steel baffles” and “baffles” implied that “baffles” did not inherently refer to objects made of steel).

         The prosecution history also plays an important role in claim interpretation as intrinsic evidence of how the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) and the inventor understood the patent. Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1317. See also Microsoft Corp. v. Multi-Tech Sys., Inc., 357 F.3d 1340, 1350 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (noting that “a patentee's statements during prosecution, whether relied on by the examiner or not, are relevant to claim interpretation”); Aylus Networks, Inc. v. Apple Inc., 856 F.3d 1353, 1361 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (applying this principle in the context of inter partes review proceedings). 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”).

         In addition to intrinsic evidence, courts may rely on extrinsic evidence such as “expert and inventor testimony, dictionaries, and learned treatises.” Id. at 1317. As the Supreme Court recently explained:

In some cases . . . the district court will need to look beyond the patent's intrinsic evidence . . . 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 Pharm. USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc., 135 S.Ct. 831, 841 (2015). However, the Federal Circuit has emphasized that such extrinsic evidence is subordinate to intrinsic evidence. Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1317 (“[W]hile extrinsic evidence can shed useful light on the relevant art, we have explained that it is less significant than the intrinsic record in determining the legally operative meaning of claim language.” (internal quotation marks omitted)).

         A. 35 U.S.C. § 112(6) (pre-AIA) / § 112(f) (AIA)[2]

         Construing a patent claim that uses functional language invoking § 112(6) involves additional steps. However, § 112(6) does not apply to all functional claim language. Instead, there is a rebuttable presumption that § 112(6) applies when the claim language includes “means” or “step for” terms. Williamson v. Citrix Online, LLC, 792 F.3d 1339, 1348. If such language does not appear in the claim language, then there is a rebuttable presumption that § 112(6) does not apply. Id. These presumptions rise or fall according to whether one of ordinary skill in the art would understand the relevant claim, in the context of the entire specification, to denote sufficiently definite structure or acts for performing the function. Id. See also Media Rights Techs., Inc. v. Capital One Fin. Corp., 800 F.3d 1366, 1372 (Fed. Cir. 2015).

         When §112(6) applies, it 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. “The first step in construing such a limitation 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');">521 F.3d 1328, 1333 (Fed. Cir. 2008).

         B. Definiteness Under 35 U.S.C. § 112(2) (pre-AIA) / § 112(b) (AIA)

         “[I]ndefiniteness is a question of law and in effect part of claim construction.” ePlus, Inc. v. Lawson Software, Inc., 700 F.3d 509, 517 (Fed. Cir. 2012). The ultimate question is whether a claim, when viewed in light of the intrinsic evidence, “inform[s] those skilled in the art about the scope of the invention with reasonable certainty.” Nautilus Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc., 134 S.Ct. 2120');">134 S.Ct. 2120, 2129 (2014). If it does not, then the claim is invalid as indefinite. 35 U.S.C. § 112(2). Whether a claim is indefinite is determined from the perspective of one of ordinary skill in the art as of the time the application for the patent was filed. Id. at 2130.

         III. CONSTRUCTION OF AGREED TERMS

         The parties agreed to the construction of the following terms/phrases:

Claim Term/Phrase
Agreed Construction

“retrieving and presenting a list of assignments” ('900 Patent, claim 1)

Plain and ordinary meaning.

“transmitting the status information and the associated identity information to a server communicatively coupled to the computer system and configured to automatically notify a user of the status information, wherein at least one of the objects is automatically returned or picked up as a result of such notification”

('356 Patent, claims 1, 35)

Plain and ordinary meaning.

“tag”

('715 Patent, claims 1, 9, 11)

“any device or marking that identifies a product or process”

“to identify at least one problematic portion of the supply chain having a relatively high level of errors in reading tags”

('715 Patent, claim 9)

Plain and ordinary meaning.

“activating an alarm” ('715 Patent, claim 22)

Plain and ordinary meaning.

“means for establishing a two-way

communication channel between a server and at least one handheld device located at a field geographically distant from the server”

('581 Patent, claim 18)

This claim term is governed by 35 U.S.C § 112(6).

Function: establishing a two-way communication channel between a server and at least one handheld device located at a field geographically distant from the server

Structure: wireless modem, cellular wireless transmitters, including GSM, CDMA, GPRS, and CDPD, TCP/IP, and/or other wireless radio transmitters

“means for determining a geographic location of the at least one handheld device”

('581 Patent, claim 18)

This claim term is governed by 35 U.S.C § 112(6).

Function: determining a geographic location of the at least one handheld device.

Structure: Global Positioning System (GPS) hardware and software, and/or signal triangulation hardware and software.

“plurality”

('586 Patent, claims 7, 16)

“two or more”

Docket No. 116-1 at 2, 5-7, 11-12, 15-16, 18, and 25. In view of the parties' agreement on the construction of the identified terms, the Court ADOPTS the parties' agreed constructions.

         Before the claim construction hearing, the parties agreed that the following term does not require construction:

Claim Term/Phrase
Agreed Construction

“work order assignment data” ('900 Patent, claim 1)

Plain and ordinary meaning.

In view of the parties' agreement on the construction of the identified term, the Court ADOPTS the parties' agreed construction.

         IV. CONSTRUCTION OF DISPUTED TERMS

         The Parties' dispute the meaning and scope of forty-two terms/phrases in the Asserted Patents. Each dispute is addressed below.

         A. “mobile field unit” (term 1) and “a system having an enterprise computing system and at least one mobile field unit” (term 2)

Disputed Term
Plaintiff's Proposal
Defendants' Proposal

“mobile field unit”

“computing device that communicates over a wireless network”

“a mobile device in which all graphical user interfaces are built using HTML; no proprietary code is used to present data”

“a system having an enterprise computing system and at least one mobile field unit”

Plain and ordinary meaning See IV's proposed construction for “mobile field unit”

“a system having an enterprise computing system and at least one mobile field unit, where all graphical user interfaces on the mobile device are built using HTML generated dynamically by a CGI or stored procedures at the enterprise computing system and communication between the enterprise computing system and mobile field unit uses non- proprietary technology”

1. The Parties' Positions

         The Parties dispute: (i) whether the communication of the mobile field unit should be limited to a wireless network as Plaintiff proposes and (ii) whether the mobile field unit is limited to “in which all graphical user interfaces are built using HTML; no proprietary code is used to present data” as Defendants propose.

         (i) Wireless Network Limitation

         Plaintiff argues that “mobile field unit” should be construed to mean a “computing device that communicates over a wireless network.” (Dkt. No. 91 at 9) (citing '900 Patent at Abstract, 2:32-34). Specifically, Plaintiff contends that the specification teaches that wireless communication between a mobile field unit and an enterprise computing system is critical to the invention. (Dkt. No. 91 at 9) (citing '900 Patent at Abstract, 2:24-27, 14:45-50, 4:13-16, 5:1-10, 1:18-2:17, Figures 1, 2, 4, 17).

         Defendants respond that Plaintiff's proposed “wireless network” requirement improperly reads in a limitation from the specification. (Dkt. No. 102 at 12.) Defendants also contend that Plaintiff cannot point to language defining “wireless” as being part of the invention. Id. (citing '900 Patent at 4:14-34).

         Plaintiff replies that the abstract, summary of the invention, and every single example in the '900 Patent explain that the mobile field unit communicates over a wireless network. (Dkt. No. 106 at 6). According to Plaintiff, there is no example or suggestion anywhere in the specification that the wireless network is optional. Id.

         (ii) HTML/Proprietary Code

         Plaintiff argues that Defendants' construction improperly imports HTML and “proprietary code” limitations from embodiments in the specification into the claims. According to Plaintiff, the specification demonstrates that the invention is not limited to those embodiments and the plain language of claim 1 does not preclude the use of proprietary code. (Dkt. No. 91 at 9). Plaintiff also argues that Defendants' proposal violates the doctrine of claim differentiation by improperly incorporating an HTML limitation from dependent claims 2-27 into independent claim 1. Id. at 10. Regarding the phrase “a system having an enterprise computing system and at least one mobile field unit, ” Plaintiff notes that the first 14 words of Defendants' construction is identical to the 14 words of the claim term. Id. Plaintiff argues that Defendants then add 40 more words that improperly import embodiments and dependent claim limitations. Id.

         Defendants respond that the specification limits “the present invention” to a system that uses an HTML graphical user interface and nonproprietary code. (Dkt. No. 102 at 11). Defendants also argue that the patent itself disparages prior art systems using proprietary code. Id. (citing '900 Patent at 1:66-2:17). According to Defendants, the specification then it explains that the “present invention” uses HTML graphical user interfaces and nonproprietary code. (Dkt. No. 102 at 11- 12) (citing '900 Patent at 14:24-44). Defendants also contend that the specification does not disclose any implementation using proprietary code, except in criticizing the use of proprietary code. (Dkt. No. 102 at 12). Defendants also argue that their construction does not render claim 1 redundant of any dependent claim because each dependent claim is still narrower than the independent claim and thus claim differentiation does not apply. Id. at 13.

         Plaintiff replies that the specification merely recommends that a new system should use “non-proprietary technologies.” Id. (citing '900 Patent at 2:5-7, 2:16-17). Plaintiff also argues that the specification never equates HTML or nonproprietary code as being part of “the invention.” (Dkt. No. 106 at 7) (citing '900 Patent at 2:45-3:30). Plaintiff further argues that nothing Defendants cite disclaims the use of non-HTML or proprietary code. (Dkt. No. 106 at 7). Finally, Plaintiff contends that the dependent claims' recitation of HTML further evidences that the inventors knew how to claim HTML and chose not to do so in some claims. Id.

         2. Analysis

         The intrinsic evidence indicates that the term “mobile field unit” should be limited as both parties propose.

         Regarding the issue of whether the mobile field unit communicates over a wireless network, the Court finds that it does. The specification states that “the system” includes a wireless communication network. For example, the Summary of the Invention states “[t]he system comprises an enterprise computing system, a mobile field unit, and wireless communication network which supports terminal control protocol/internet protocol (TCP/IP).” '900 Patent at 2:24-27 (emphasis added). See also Id. at Abstract (“A system for multi-crew management comprises an enterprise computing system, a mobile field unit, and wireless communication network which supports terminal control protocol/internet protocol (TCP/IP) (emphasis added); id. at 14:48-50 (“The system comprises an enterprise computing system, a wireless network, and a mobile field unit” (emphasis added)). Furthermore, all of the figures illustrate “the system” with a wireless communication network between the mobile field unit and the enterprise computing system. See, e.g., '900 Patent at 3:50-54 (“FIG. 1 graphically depicts a system in accordance with the invention. As shown, the inventive system comprises enterprise computing system 50, mobile field unit 52, and wireless communication network 54 operably connecting the two”). The specification further states that the mobile field unit itself “comprises a computing device and modem for communicating over the wireless network to the enterprise computing system.” Id. at 2:32-34; see also, id. at Abstract (“A mobile field unit comprises a computing device and modem for communicating over the wireless network to the enterprise computing system.”) (emphasis added).

         The need for a wireless network is also consistent with the stated goal of facilitating advanced two-way data communication for geographically dispersed employees. Id. at 1:18-2:17. As one example, the specification states that “[a] work order, . . . [is] assigned using a centralized enterprise computing system and are communicated over a wireless network to field personnel having mobile computing units.” Id. at 3:37-42 (emphasis added). See also Id. at 3:34-38 (“The present invention provides a multi-crew management system. More particularly the management system is an automated system for the distribution of work orders and related materials to field personnel dispersed over a wide geographic area.”) (emphasis added).

         While Defendants correctly argue that the PTAB recently recognized that the specification describes the wireless modem as optional, (Dkt. No. 102 at 13; Dkt. No. 102-1 at 8-10), the Court does not find this interpretation, under the broadest reasonable interpretation standard, to be persuasive. Ultimately, a person of ordinary skill in the art would understand that the specification makes clear that the mobile field unit must communicate over the wireless network. Accordingly, the Court construes “mobile field device” as a computing device that communicates over a wireless network.

         Regarding the second issue related to proprietary code and HTML interfaces, the Court adopts Defendants' construction. The patent itself specifically criticizes the prior art's use of proprietary systems as being difficult to maintain. The specification then emphasizes the need for an easy-to-maintain non-proprietary system and explains that the “present invention” uses HTML graphical user interfaces and nonproprietary code to fulfill this need:

[T]here are numerous advantages to the systems and methods in accordance with the present invention. Foremost of these is that propriety [sic] code does not need to be developed and deployed on mobile field unit 52. For example, code for displaying information in a window or in [a] dialog box is not proprietary. Rather, all graphical user interfaces are built using HTML generated dynamically by a CGI or stored procedures at enterprise computing system 50. Thus, there is no need to write complex closed proprietary code for each mobile field unit 52 when an interface is changed or different data needs to be presented.

Id. at 14:24-34 (emphasis added). The specification also explains that the enterprise computing system generates and sends the HTML interfaces to the mobile field unit, making maintenance simpler:

Furthermore, in a system in accordance with the present invention application programs 80 [at the enterprise computing system] generate dynamic HTML based on data and the desired presentation . . . . These dynamically created HTML files are thereafter delivered to the mobile field unit. Thus, changes made at enterprise computing system 50 are reflected immediately at mobile field unit 52. This greatly facilitates deployment of new user interfaces and applications to large numbers of field units 52.

Id. at 14:35-44 (emphasis added). Accordingly, the Court finds that the patentees limited the claimed invention by criticizing the prior art's use of proprietary displays and repeating that systems and methods that are “in accordance with the present invention” are limited to HTML. SciMed Life Sys., Inc. v. Advanced Cardiovascular Sys., Inc., 242 F.3d 1337, 1344 (Fed. Cir. 2001) (“[Plaintiff's] argument, however, flies in the face of the many statements in the written description that define ‘the invention' as employing a [specific] structure and distinguish the prior art in part on the ground that it used a [specific] structure, which had [a certain] disadvantage . . . .”).

         The Court is also not persuaded that this construction violates the doctrine of claim differentiation because the dependent claim that reference HTML recite specific steps that are taken using HTML. In other words, each dependent claim is narrower than the independent claim and thus claim differentiation does not apply. Sinorgchem Co., Shandong v. Int'l Trade Comm'n, 511 F.3d 1132, 1140 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (“Because claim 41 refers merely to a subset of the solvent systems described in claim 30, and is significantly narrower in scope, the claims are not rendered identical and present no claim differentiation problem.”). Moreover, claim differentiation “does not override clear statements of scope in the specification . . . .” Toro Co. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 199 F.3d 1295, 1302 (Fed. Cir. 1999) (citations omitted). For the reasons discussed above, the Court finds that the specification limits the invention to HTML.

         Regarding the phrase “a system having an enterprise computing system and at least one mobile field unit, ” the Court finds that the first 14 words of Defendants' construction are identical to the first 14 words of the claim term. The Court notes that the additional 40 words added to the phrase effectively repeat the limitations introduced with Defendants' construction for “mobile field unit.” As discussed above, the Court will provide a construction for the term “mobile field unit, ” which will resolve the parties' claim construction dispute for that term. Accordingly, the phrase “a system having an enterprise computing system and at least one mobile field unit” will be given its plain and ordinary meaning.

         3. Court's Construction

         For the reasons set forth above, the Court construes the term “mobile field unit” to mean “computing device that communicates over a wireless network without using proprietary code to present data, in which all graphical user interfaces are built using HTML.” The phrase “a system having an enterprise computing system and at least one mobile field unit” will be given its plain and ordinary meaning.

         B. “field crew” (term 3)

Disputed Term
Plaintiff's Proposal
Defendants' Proposal

“field crew”

“one or more field personnel”

“a group of people in the field”

1. The Parties' Positions

         The term “field crew” appears in asserted claim 1 of the '900 Patent. The central dispute over this term is whether a “crew” requires two or more people.

         Plaintiff contends that nothing in the intrinsic record suggests that the patentee intended to exclude a field crew of one. (Dkt. No. 91 at 10). Plaintiff argues that every step of the claims can be performed by a one-person field crew. Id. Indeed, Plaintiff argues that it is illogical and inconsistent with the specification to assume that multiple field crew members must carry out some of the steps, like inputting or selecting something on a mobile field unit. Id. (citing '900 Patent at 9:31-33, 9:66-10:2, 10:28-32). Plaintiff also contends that its construction is consistent with extrinsic evidence. Id. at 11.

         Defendants respond that the specification uses “field crew” consistently with its plain meaning of a group of people. (Dkt. No. 102 at 14) (citing Dkt. Nos. 102-2, 102-3, 102-4, 102-5). Defendants also contend that the claims and specification distinguish the plural “crew” from a singular “crew member.” (Dkt. No. 102 at 14) (citing Dkt. No. 102-6). Defendants argue that limiting “crew” to the plural is also consistent with the patent's primary purpose, which is for use with organizations having multiple-member crews. (Dkt. No. 102 at 14) (citing '900 Patent at 1:18-36, 14:65-15:5). Defendants further argue that obtaining information from and sending information to all members of the crew is both logical and expressly disclosed in the specification. Id. (citing '900 Patent at 9:4-19). Defendants also contend that the patent consistently uses “personnel” as plural, and thus the use of the term supports their construction. (Dkt. No. 102 at 15) (citing '900 Patent at 1:27, 1:42, 2:13, 1:61, 8:56).

         Plaintiff replies that “[s]imply because a claim uses a term in a singular or plural form does not necessarily mean that the claim should be construed literally based on those singular or plural forms.” (Dkt. No. 106 at 8) (citing Lodsys, LLC v. Brother Int'l Corp., No. 2:11-00090, 2013 WL 2949959, at *17 (E.D. Tex. June 14, 2013)). Plaintiff further argues that the patent uses “field crew” and “field crew member” to distinguish when one member is required (“field crew member”), from when one or more members may be involved (“field crew”). Id.

         Defendants respond that no evidence supports Plaintiff's conclusion that a “crew” can consist of just one member. (Dkt. No. 119 at 7). According to Defendants, the '900 Patent and every dictionary definition of record support their position that “crew” is plural. Id. Defendants argue that the patent uniformly describes “crew” (and “personnel”) as plural and contrasts it with the singular “crew member.” Id.

         2. Analysis

         The '900 Patent uses “field crew” to refer to either a single person or a group of people. For example, claim 1 recites steps performed “in response to field crew input selecting an assignment” and “in response to field crew input.” '900 Patent, claim 1. However, nothing in this claim language or the specification suggests that multiple people in the field do the inputting or selecting. Id. Indeed, claim 1 does not recite any step that must be carried out by more than one person-a single person could input login data, select an assignment, view a display, and input an action taken. Id. Instead, the focus of the invention is on identifying a particular field crew and assigning that field crew a mobile field unit, regardless of the number of members in a particular field crew. See, e.g., '900 Patent at 4:35-39 (“Each field crew is assigned a mobile field unit 52. Thus, although only one is shown in FIG. 1, numerous mobile field units 52 may be deployed and operating at once. As noted, each mobile field unit 52 has an IP address assigned to it.” (emphasis added)), 6:64-67 (“Generally, an operator at enterprise computing system 50 employs application program 80 to assign a work order or task to a particular field crew.” (emphasis added)); 8:66- 9:2 (“FIG. 5 provides a flow chart depiction of a scenario for using the system of FIGS. 1 through 5 to distribute work order assignment data to a field crew having a mobile field unit.”).

         Additionally, the fact that the '900 Patent requires a single person, i.e. a single field crew member, to perform some steps in some of the claims does not suggest, as Defendants argue, that the use of “field crew” embraces only two or more people. The use of “field crew” vs. “field crew member” imposes different requirements (at least one vs. only one). Likewise, although the specification sometimes refers to field crew “personnel” performing a step, id. at 8:56-57 (“[W]hen field crew personnel click . . .”), it does so while speaking generally about how numerous crews might interact with the system described in the patent. See, e.g., Id. at 3:34-38 (“More particularly the management system is an automated system for the distribution of work orders and related materials to field personnel dispersed over a wide geographic area.”); id. at 7:17-18 (“Typically, work orders are assigned by personnel at enterprise computing system 50 using application program 80.”); id. at 14:45-48 (“Thus, as described above the present invention provides systems and methods for low-cost, timely, two-way communications between a central enterprise systems and geographically distributed field personnel.”).

         Ultimately, there is nothing in the claim language or the intrinsic record that requires a field crew to include two or more people and the Court declines Defendants' invitation to import such a limitation by elevating their preferred dictionary definitions over the language of the claims. See Interval Licensing LLC v. AOL, Inc., 766 F.3d 1364, 1377 (Fed. Cir. 2014) (“[W]e have cautioned against relying on dictionary definitions at the expense of a fair reading of the claims, which must be understood in light of the specification.”); Medrad, Inc. v. MRI Devices Corp., 401 F.3d 1313, 1319 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (“We cannot look at the ordinary meaning of the term . . . in a vacuum. Rather, we must look at the ordinary meaning in the context of the written description and the prosecution history.”).[3]

         3. Court's Construction

         Accordingly, the Court construes the term “field crew” to mean “one or more personnel assigned to a particular mobile field unit.”

         C. “in response to the input of field crew login data” (term 5)

Disputed Term
Plaintiff's Proposal
Defendants' Proposal

“in response to the input of field crew login data”

Plain and ordinary meaning

“in response to the input of login data corresponding to and entered by the group of people in the field”

         1. The Parties' Positions

         The parties dispute whether the phrase “in response to the input of field crew login data” requires construction. Plaintiff contends that Defendants' construction suggests that claim 1 requires a group of people to enter login data on a mobile field unit. (Dkt. No. 91 at 27). Plaintiff further argues that such a construction, as compared to the plain and ordinary meaning, is illogical, confusing, and not supported by the intrinsic record. Id. at 28.

         Defendants respond that the plain meaning of “field crew login data” requires that the data be entered by and correspond to the field crew (i.e., the group of people in the field). (Dkt. No. 102 at 16). Defendants also argue that the specification explains that the field crew, not just a field crew member, enters the login data. Id. (citing '900 Patent at 9:5-8, Figure 7). Defendants further argue that the corresponding description for Figure 7 discloses a “field crew member clicking a link” to bring up the login page, but then describes “the field crew entering login data.” (Dkt. No. 102 at 16) (citing '900 Patent at 9:32-33, 9:40). According to Defendants, the specification is consistent that multiple members enter login data. (Dkt. No. 102 at 16). Defendants also argue that the claim and specification also clarify that the data corresponds to the entire crew, because both require that the field crew's identity is verified. Id. (citing '900 Patent at 9:5-8, 9:39-43). Defendants contend that it makes sense to require all crew members to log in. (Dkt. No. 102 at 16).

         Plaintiff replies that Defendants' construction requires multiple people to type on the mobile field unit to input a single field crew login. (Dkt. No. 106 at 8). According to Plaintiff, the patent never suggests that result. Id.

         Defendants reply that the claim requires the “input of field crew login data.” (Dkt. No. 119 at 7). Defendants contend that the specification discloses “login data input by the field crew” and “the field crew entering login data.” Id. at 8 (citing '900 Patent at 9:6, 9:40). According to Defendants, it makes sense to verify the identity of the crew instead of one member. (Dkt. No. 119 at 8).

         2. Analysis

         The phrase “in response to the input of field crew login data” appears in asserted claim 1 of the '900 Patent. As with the previous term, Defendants contend that the phrase requires the crew (i.e., multiple members) to each enter login data. (Dkt. No. 102 at 16). According to Defendants, the claim and specification also clarify that the data corresponds to the entire crew, because both require that the field crew's identity to be verified, and not the identity of a single member. Id. The Court disagrees and finds that Defendants' attempt to redraft the claim to require every member of the crew login to be verified is inconsistent with the intrinsic evidence.

         The specification indicates that “[a]t step 330 in response to a field crew member clicking on a link in the ‘alert HTML file, ' a login form is displayed.” '900 Patent at 9:31-33 (emphasis added). Likewise, Step 330 of Figure 7 states “[a]t the mobile field unit, upon a user clicking on a link in the alert HTM file, presenting a login form.” Id. at Figure 7 (emphasis added). Thus, the intrinsic evidence indicates that only one user, and not the entire field crew, needs to input login data. Accordingly, the Court rejects Defendants' construction because the disputed phrase is unambiguous and is easily understandable by a jury, particularly in light of the Court's construction of “field crew.” Finally, in reaching its conclusion, the Court has considered the extrinsic evidence submitted by the parties and given it its proper weight in light of the intrinsic evidence.

         3. Court's Construction

         The phrase “in response to the input of field crew login data” will be given its plain and ordinary meaning.

         D. “verifying field crew identity” (term 6)

Disputed Term
Plaintiff's Proposal
Defendants' Proposal

“verifying field crew identity”

Plain and ordinary meaning

“verifying, by the enterprise computing system, the identity of the group of people in the field”

         1. The Parties' Positions

         The parties dispute whether the phrase “verifying field crew identity” requires construction. According to Plaintiff, Defendants' construction is inconsistent with dependent claim 3, which recites three sub-steps for “verifying field crew identity, ” two of which occur at the mobile field unit and not at the enterprise computing system. (Dkt. No. 91 at 28) (citing '900 Patent at 15:39-49). Plaintiff argues that “verifying” in independent claim 1 cannot be limited to being performed “by the enterprise computing system.” (Dkt. No. 91 at 28). Plaintiff further argues that Defendants' construction improperly imports a limitation from embodiments into claim 1. Id. (citing '900 Patent at 9:30-43, Figure 7).

         Defendants respond that claim 3 supports requiring the enterprise computing system to perform the verifying. (Dkt. No. 102 at 17). Defendants argue that the third step of claim 3 requires the enterprise computing system verify the login data. Id. According to Defendants, the specification supports their construction because it exclusively describes the enterprise computing system as verifying the field crew's identity. Id. (citing '900 Patent at 9:30-43, Figure 7). Defendants argue that the specification does not describe the mobile field unit as having the capability to verify the login data. (Dkt. No. 102 at 17).

         Plaintiff replies that Defendants do not identify any language in the specification disclaiming “verifying” being performed on the mobile field unit. (Dkt. No. 106 at 9). According to Plaintiff, claim 3 explicitly says that all three of the steps (including those performed on the mobile field unit) are part of “verifying field crew identity.” Id. (citing '900 Patent at 15:38-40).

         2. Analysis

         The phrase “verifying field crew identity” appears in asserted claim 1 of the '900 Patent. The Court finds that the specification describes the enterprise computing system as verifying the field crew's identity. The specification states that “[a]t step 332 in response to the field crew entering login data into the login form and submitting the login data, the login data is transmitted to enterprise computing system 50. At step 334 database 82 is queried to verify that the login data is correct.” '900 Patent at 9:39-43. Similar to the term “mobile field unit, ” the specification describes important aspects of “the system.” For the “mobile field unit” it was a wireless network, and for this phrase it is the enterprise computing system performing the verification. Accordingly, the Court will include “by the enterprise computing system” in its construction. The Court rejects the remaining portion of Defendants' construction. As discussed above, the Court will provide a construction for the term “field crew, ” which will resolve the parties' claim construction dispute for that term.

         Plaintiff argues that Defendants' construction is inconsistent with dependent claim 3, which recites three sub-steps for “verifying field crew identity.” The Court disagrees. Although claim 3 includes two precursor steps where the mobile field unit receives and transmits data, the third step requires the enterprise computing system verify the login data. Accordingly, claim 3 is consistent with Defendants' construction. Moreover, the specification does not describe the mobile field unit (or any other component) as verifying the login data.

         3. Court's Construction

         The Court construes the phrase “verifying field crew identity” to mean “verifying, by the enterprise computing system, the identity of the field crew.”

         E. “retrieving detailed assignment data” (term 8)

Disputed Term
Plaintiff's Proposal
Defendants' Proposal

“retrieving detailed assignment data”

Plain and ordinary meaning

“retrieving, from the enterprise computing system, detailed data regarding the assignment that the field crew is working on”

         1. The Parties' Positions

         The parties dispute whether the phrase “retrieving detailed assignment data” requires construction. Plaintiff contends that nothing in the patent demands that “retrieving” must be “from the enterprise computing system.” (Dkt. No. 91 at 28). Plaintiff further argues that dependent claim 13 further limits “retrieving detailed assignment data” to four sub-steps, one of which occurs at the mobile field unit and not at the enterprise computing system. Id. at 28-29 (citing '900 Patent at 16:42-55). According to Plaintiff, “retrieving” must therefore include retrieval from the mobile field unit and the enterprise computing system. (Dkt. No. 91 at 29). Plaintiff also argues that defining “assignment data” as “data regarding the assignment that the field crew is working on” is inconsistent with claim 1 because the method may be performed before anyone begins “working on” the assignment. Id.

         Defendants respond that Plaintiff's argument that “nothing in the patent” requires retrieving detailed assignment data “from the enterprise computing system” directly contradicts statements it made to the PTAB. (Dkt. No. 102 at 17) (citing Dkt. No. 102-7 at 23). Defendants also argue that claim 13 does not require a different conclusion simply because the request step in claim 13 (a precursor to retrieving) comes from the mobile field unit. (Dkt. No. 102 at 17). Defendants further argue that claim 13 is consistent with their construction because it recites additional details of how the data is retrieved from the enterprise computing system and transmitted to the mobile field unit. Id. Defendants also contend that the specification consistently describes the detailed assignment data as being retrieved from the database on the enterprise computing system and/or transmitted to the mobile field unit from the enterprise computing system. Id. at 17-18 (citing '900 Patent at 9:11-14, 10:26-67, 11:10-14, 11:25-29). Defendants further argue that the specification expressly defines “‘detailed assignment data' . . . [as] detailed data regarding the assignment that a field crew may be working on.” (Dkt. No. 102 at 18) (citing '900 Patent at 11:31-33).

         Plaintiff replies that Defendants identify no language disclaiming a location of the assignment data before it is retrieved. (Dkt. No. 106 at 9). Plaintiff further argues that it did not disclaim retrieval from the mobile field unit during the IPR. (Dkt. No. 106 at 9). According to Plaintiff, it explained that “retrieving” required the data to be retrieved from somewhere (such as the enterprise computing system or local memory), but could not be generated in real time (and thus “retrieved” from nowhere), as in the prior art. Id. (citing Dkt. No. 102-7 at 22-23). Plaintiff further argues that the “‘detailed assignment data' . . . is detailed data regarding the assignment that a field crew may be working on.” (Dkt. No. 106 at 9) (citing '900 Patent at 11:31-33). According to Plaintiff, the field crew need not be working on the assignment before it is retrieved. (Dkt. No. 106 at 9).

         2. Analysis

         The phrase “retrieving detailed assignment data” appears in asserted claim 1 of the '900 Patent. The Court finds that “retrieving detailed assignment data” requires retrieving data from the enterprise computing system. The specification consistently describes the detailed assignment data as being retrieved from the database on the enterprise computing system and/or transmitted to the mobile field unit from the enterprise computing system. See, e.g., '900 Patent at 9:11-14 (“At step 310 in response to input by the field crew selecting an assignment from the list of assignments, detailed assignment data for the selected assignment is retrieved from database 82.”) (emphasis added); 10:28-32 (“As shown, at step 360 at the mobile field unit 52 in response to a crew member clicking on an ‘assignment link' in the assignment HTML page, a request for data related to the selected assignment is transmitted to enterprise computing system 50.”) (emphasis added); 11:10- 14 (“The items listed in the cause or equipment categories are derived by querying database 82 on enterprise computing system 52.”) (emphasis added); 11:25-26 (“At step 366 the ‘detailed assignment data HTML page' is transmitted to mobile field unit 52.”). In addition to the specification, Plaintiff also argued that this limitation was required before the PTAB. (Dkt. No. 102-7 at 23) (“Retrieving [the detailed assignment] data, such as from the enterprise computing system, as the '900 patent claim 1 requires . . . .”) (emphasis added). See also Aylus Networks, Inc. v. Apple Inc., 856 F.3d 1353, 1361 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (recognizing that statements made in the context of inter partes review proceedings may be relevant in construing a patent's claims). Accordingly, the Court will include “from the enterprise computing system” in the construction.

         According to Plaintiff, “retrieving” must permit retrieval from the mobile field unit and the enterprise computing system. (Dkt. No. 91 at 29). The Court disagrees. Claim 13 recites additional details (steps 2-4) of how the data is retrieved from the enterprise computing system and transmitted to the mobile field unit. The request step in claim 13 (a precursor to retrieving) comes from the mobile field unit. Accordingly, the Court finds that the data is retrieved from the enterprise computing system.

         However, the Court rejects the remaining portion of Defendants' construction. The intrinsic evidence does not require the field crew to be actively “working on” the assignment to satisfy the retrieving step. The claim language itself only requires retrieving detailed assignment data. It is the next step in the claim that displays the detailed assignment data to the field crew. Moreover, the specification indicates that “detailed assignment data” is “detailed data regarding the assignment that a field crew may be working on.” '900 Patent at 11:31-33 (emphasis added). There is nothing in the intrinsic evidence that requires the field crew to be actively working on the assignment. Indeed, Defendants agreed during the claim construction hearing to change “is working on” to “may be working on.”

         3. Court's Construction

         The Court construes the phrase “retrieving detailed assignment data” to mean “retrieving, from the enterprise computing system, detailed data regarding the assignment.”

         F. “obtaining identity information regarding an entity which enters a controlled space” (term 9)

Disputed Term
Plaintiff's Proposal
Defendants' Proposal

“obtaining identity information regarding an entity which enters a controlled space”

IV proposes the following constructions for the following terms:

“entity”: “an individual, an automated device, or a robot”

“controlled space”: “a space in which access to, from, or within is controlled or monitored”

The remainder of the language should be given its plain and ordinary meaning.

“entity”: “a person or robot”

“controlled space”: “a storage location having a mechanism limiting unauthorized access to the storage location”

The remainder of the language should be construed: “receiving information, from an entity, identifying the entity upon entry into a controlled space”

         1. The Parties' Positions

         The parties dispute whether the recited “entity” includes “an automated device.” The parties also dispute whether the “controlled space” must include a “mechanism.” Regarding the term “entity, ” Plaintiff argues that the specification explicitly includes “automated device” within the definition for “entity.” (Dkt. No. 91 at 11) (citing '356 Patent at 1:66-2:4, 2:64-67). Plaintiff contends that Defendants' construction improperly excludes the full scope of the invention and attempts to limit “entity” to descriptions of certain embodiments. (Dkt. No. 91 at 12) (citing '356 Patent at 3:7-12, 4:34-36, 4:67-5:4).

         Defendants respond that the patent uniformly describes embodiments in the context of an entity that is either a person or apparatus designed to function in place of a person. (Dkt. No. 102 at 18). Defendants argue that the patent describes no “automated device” functioning as an entity of broader scope than that of a “robot.” Id. Defendants contend that the Detailed Description repeatedly establishes an “entity (i.e., a person or robot)” or “entity (i.e., human or robot).” Id. (citing '356 Patent at 3:9, 4:35, 5:1). Defendants further argue that Plaintiff's construction would likely confuse a jury, because it suggests the “automated device” is something separate from a robot. (Dkt. No. 102 at 19).

         Plaintiff replies that an “entity” is not required to act like a human. (Dkt. No. 106 at 9). According to Plaintiff, the entity may be passive and not responsible for actually moving an object. Id. (citing '356 Patent at 2:64-67). Plaintiff also argues that some claims require the entity to use an input device (e.g., claims 20, 33, 51), and others do not (e.g., claims 1, 35). (Dkt. No. 106 at 10). Plaintiff further contends that the patent's use of the phrase “entity (i.e., human or robot)” does not alter the meaning of “entity, ” because the phrase only is used in the context of embodiments in which entities do act like humans. Id.

         Regarding the term “controlled space, ” Plaintiff argues that one of the goals of the '356 Patent is to provide “a system and method for monitoring the existence, location, and movement of objects in inventory as well as providing secure and traceable access to them.” (Dkt. No. 91 at 12) (citing '356 Patent at 1:14-18, Abstract). Plaintiff contends that the patent contemplates embodiments that do not limit access, and instead, permit access and then monitor such access. (Dkt. No. 91 at 12) (citing '356 Patent at 2:21-34, 3:30-31, 5:19-21, 5:57-62.). Plaintiff further argues that Defendants' construction introduces unnecessary confusion by including words such as “mechanism” and “limiting.” (Dkt. No. 91 at 12). Plaintiff contends that some embodiments use “mechanisms” to limit access to the space, but the patent also contemplates other means of controlling or monitoring access. Id. (citing '356 Patent at 5:18-20). Plaintiff also argues that Defendants' inclusion of “limiting unauthorized access” is inconsistent with embodiments that allow unauthorized access. (Dkt. No. 91 at 12-13) (citing '356 Patent at 2:4-6, 2:21-27, 5:57-58).

         Defendants argue that the term “controlled space” is synonymous with “controlled-access space.” (Dkt. No. 102 at 19). Defendants further contend that the premise on which the patent bases its purported novelty depends on a storage location having both a means of limiting access to the space, and a means for monitoring the space. Id. (citing '356 Patent at 1:46-55). Defendants also contend that Plaintiff recently argued this position to the PTAB. (Dkt. No. 102 at 19) (citing Dkt. No. 102-9 at 25). According to Defendants, the patent uniformly describes embodiments throughout the specification that monitor spaces secured by a mechanism limiting physical access. (Dkt. No. 102 at 19-20) (citing '356 Patent at Abstract, 1:29-55, 2:7-21, 2:42-57, 3:7-29, 3:42- 5:62, 8:16-23).

         Defendants also argue that Plaintiff's construction should be rejected because it reads out “controlled” from the claims entirely. (Dkt. No. 102 at 20). Defendants contend that Plaintiff's construction repeats words of the phrase construed (i.e., “controlled” and “space”) or word/phrases recited by other elements of the claim (i.e., “monitoring . . . to/from/within”). Id. Defendants further argue that Plaintiff's construction makes no sense because “access from a space” and “access within a space” cannot be controlled or monitored. Id. ...


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