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Kaist IP U.S. LLC v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

United States District Court, E.D. Texas

May 29, 2018

KAIST IP U.S. LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         Plaintiff moves to exclude certain portions of Dr. Vivek Subramanian' rebuttal report on infringement. Pl.'s Mot. to Exclude [Dkt. # 219]. The Court will GRANT the motion IN PART.

         * * *

         A. Subramanian's Opinion Concerning Whether “Double-Gate FinFET” is Limiting (¶¶ 82-89)

         Plaintiff contends paragraphs 82-89 of Subramanian's rebuttal report concern an issue the Court has already resolved-namely, whether “double-gate FinFET” limits the claimed devices to only two gates. Pl.'s Mot. [Dkt. # 219] at 2-3. During claim construction, the Court concluded the term was not limiting. Cl. Constr. Mem. Op. & Order [Dkt. # 179] at 13-17. Subramanian's rebuttal report acknowledges the Court's construction, but nonetheless notes “the Accused Devices are not double-gate FinFET devices.” Subramanian Rep. [Dkt. # 219-2] ¶ 82.

         Defendants do not contest Plaintiff's characterization of these paragraphs as inconsistent with the Court's constructions. Instead, Defendants note Judge Gilstrap, as of the time of their response, had not yet ruled on their objections. Defs.' Resp. [Dkt. # 273] at 2. Thus, say Defendants, they were required to maintain their positions or risk waiver on appeal. Id. Defendants ask that, if the Court grants this part of Plaintiff's motion, the Court hold these arguments are not waived for purposes of appeal. Id. at 3.

         Judge Gilstrap has since overruled Defendants' objections, Order [Dkt. # 388], and Defendants do not contest these issues have already been decided. Given that, Subramanian's testimony is not relevant and should be excluded under Fed.R.Evid. 402. Accordingly, the Court will grant this part of the motion.[1]

         B. Subramanian's Theory Relating to “a Gate Oxide Layer” and “a First Oxide Layer” (¶¶ 100-25)

         Plaintiff contends Subramanian's rebuttal report raises a belated claim-construction dispute in that the same layer of material cannot satisfy both the “gate oxide layer” and the “first oxide layer” claim limitations. Pl.'s Mot. [Dkt. # 219] at 3-6 (citing to Subramanian Rep. [Dkt. # 219-2] ¶ 125). Defendants respond that Plaintiff, in fact, has raised the new dispute by now proposing a meaning that is inconsistent with the Court's claim construction. Defs.' Resp. [Dkt. # 273] at 2-3.

         Subramanian's position concerns two different continuous layers of material in the accused devices: an interfacial silicon dioxide (SiO2) layer and a HfO dielectric layer. The SiO2 layer wraps completely around and contacts the fin on all sides. Subramanian Rep. [Dkt. # 219-2] ¶ 110. The HfO layer then wraps around the SiO2 layer. Id. ¶ 111.

         Subramanian opines

[t]he interfacial SiO2 layer cannot correspond to the claimed “first oxide layer” because the gate electrode is not formed on the interfacial SiO2 as required by the claims. . . . In addition, to the extent one would argue that the interfacial SiO2 layer corresponds to the claimed “gate oxide layer, ” the interfacial SiO2 layer cannot also correspond to the claimed “first oxide layer” for an additional reason. Specifically, the Plaintiff cannot point to the same layer as corresponding to both features of the claimed structure.

Id. ¶ 112 (emphasis added); see also Id. at ¶ 121. Similarly, Subramanian concludes

[t]he HfO layer is not formed on the surface of the semiconductor fin. Instead, the HfO layer is formed on the surface of the interfacial SiO2 layer. As such, the HfO layer cannot correspond to the claimed “first oxide layer” which is required to be “formed on the upper surface of said Fin active region[.]” . . . The HfO layer cannot correspond to the claimed “gate oxide layer” because the HfO layer is not “formed on both side-walls of the Fin active region.” . . . In addition, the Plaintiff cannot point to the HfO layer as corresponding to both “gate oxide layer” and “first oxide layer” features of the claimed structure.

         Id. ¶ 113 (emphasis added); see also ...


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