United States District Court, D. Arizona
G. MURRAY SNOW, District Judge.
Pending before this Court are the briefs addressing claim construction. (Docs. 65, 71-77, 91, 94.) Also before the Court is Motion to Modify Expert Report Deadlines and Related Deadlines in the Case Management Order. (Doc. 97) For the reasons set forth below, the Court makes the following construction and interpretation of the meaning of the disputed claims. Good cause appearing, the Motion to Modify is also granted in part according to the deadlines ordered below.
In this patent suit, Verco Decking, Inc. ("Verco") alleges that Consolidated Systems, Inc. ("CSI") infringed Patents No. 6, 212, 932 ("the 932 Patent") and 6, 397, 469 ("the 469 Patent"). (Doc. 1.) The 932 Patent is a device patent covering a tool used to form structural louvers, and the 469 Patent is a method patent covering, inter alia, the use of the 932 tool to secure workpieces together. ( Id. ) Verco's patents cover its Punchlok tool, which secures together panels of structural steel decking to form commercial buildings strong enough to withstand forces such as seismic activity and high winds. (Doc. 73 at 1.) Verco alleges that CSI's competing product, the Dek-lok ISL tool, infringes on the 932 Patent, and that the use of that tool infringes on the 469 Patent.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO") issued the 932 Patent on April 10, 2001, and the 469 Patent on June 4, 2002. (Doc. 35-1, 35-3.) On June 7, 2012, the PTO granted CSI's request for ex parte reexamination of the patents and as a result, it rejected all of the claims in the patents in March 2013. (Docs. 28, 44-5.) Verco submitted an after-final Request for Reconsideration, resulting in the PTO issuing reexamination certificates for the 932 and 469 Patents in May and June 2013. (Docs. 31, 32, 44-5.) The reconsideration of the reexamination of the 932 device patent found it patentable but only with amendments to the language of Claim 1. (Doc. 32-1.) The other claims of the 932 Patent were not amended but are dependent on the amended claim. ( Id. ) The reconsideration of the reexamination of the 469 method patent resulted in confirmation of all of its claims without amendment. (Doc. 32-2.)
The parties agree that the term "louver" must be construed. Verco accuses CSI's tool of infringing at least Claims 1, 5, and 6 of the 932 Patent, and Claims 12, 13, and 15 of the 469 Patent. (Doc. 65-1.) Claim 1 of the 932 Patent and Claim 12 of the 469 Patent are independent claims, each requiring the formation of a "louver" in the seam of the joined steel decking workpieces. Claims 5 and 6 are dependent on Claim 1 of the 932 Patent, and Claims 13 and 15 are dependent on Claim 12 of the 469 Patent. Therefore, a "louver" is a necessary element of every disputed claim of both the 932 and 469 Patents. The parties propose the following constructions:
CSI's Proposed Construction of "LOUVER":
a rectangular structure formed in the multiple layers of steel comprising the seam of adjacent connected panels of steel decking, said rectangular structure having lateral edges sheared from the seam and deformed into a bowed shape supported at two ends orthogonal to the lateral edges, with said bowed structure bridging the window formed by the lateral sheared edges in the adjacent layer of steel in the seam.
Verco's Proposed Construction of "LOUVER":
a tab formed by the shearing and deforming of a portion of a seam of structural steel decking that provides interference at the ends of the tab to resist lateral movement of adjacent panels of structural steel decking.
(Doc. 65 at 4.)
I. Legal Standard
A patent includes two basic components: (1) a written description of the invention, which is referred to as the "specification" of the patent, and (2) the patent claims. The claims of a patent define the scope of the invention to which the patentee is entitled. Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303, 1312 (Fed. Cir. 2005); see also Vitronics Corp. v. Conceptronic, Inc., 90 F.3d 1576, 1582 (Fed. Cir. 1996). The purpose of claim construction is to "determin[e] the meaning and scope of the patent claims asserted to be infringed." Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., 52 F.3d 967, 976 ...