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Brocade Communications Systems, Inc., A Delaware Corporation v. A10 Networks

January 6, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lucy H. Koh United States District Judge


Presently before the Court are three motions for summary judgment: Defendant and Counterclaimant A10 Networks, Inc.'s and Defendants Lee Chen's and Rajkumar Jalan's 21 (collectively "A10") Motion for Summary Judgment of Noninfringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 22 7,647,427 and 7,716,370 ("A10's '427 Mot."); A10's Motion for Summary Judgment of 23 Noninfringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,558,195 ("A10's '195 Mot."); and Brocade Communication 24 Systems, Inc. and Foundry Networks, LLC's (collectively "Brocade") Motion for Summary 25 Judgment of Noninfringement of U.S. Patent No. 5,875,185 ("Brocade's Mot."). The Court held a 26 technology tutorial on December 12, 2011, and a hearing on the claim construction and summary judgment motions on December 19, 2011. For the following reasons, the Court DENIES A10's 2 two motions and GRANTS Brocade's motion. 3


The inventions at issue relate to improving various aspects of network communications.

1.'427 and '370 Patents

Brocade's '427 Patent and the '370 Patent are related and share a common specification.

Both patents are titled "Redundancy Support for Network Address Translation." The '427 Patent 8 application was filed on October 18, 2002, and the patent issued on January 12, 2010. The '370 9 2007, and the patent issued on May 11, 2010.

The '427 and '370 Patents both teach "providing redundancy support for network address translation (NAT) devices (such as routers or switches) in the event of a failover." '427 Patent 13 Patent is a divisional of the '427 Patent. The '370 Patent application was filed on January 24, 1:10-12. A NAT device translates Internet Protocol (IP) addresses used within one network to a 14 different IP address known within another network. Id. at 1:15-17. For example, a company may 15 use a NAT device to map its local inside network addresses to one or more global outside IP 16 addresses, and map the global IP addresses on incoming packets back into local IP addresses. Id. at 17

1:20-24. Such translation is used for security and to limit the number of IP addresses a company 18 uses to communicate outside of its local inside network. Id. at 1:24-34. 19

20 that occurred when a NAT device without redundancy failed due to, for instance, a power failure. 21

Id. at 1:41-45; '370 Patent at 1:48-50. In such situations, without redundancy, the NAT device 22 would be unable to perform address translation and to forward traffic. See '427 Patentat 1:47-48; 23

'370 Patent at 1:52-56. Even in prior art systems that included a backup NAT device, a NAT 24 device failure would result in network downtime and lost traffic between the time that the failure 25 occurred and the time that the backup NAT device was brought online. '427 Patentat 1:48-53; 26

'370 Patent at 1:56-62. The inventions claimed by the '427 and '370 Patents provide a method for 27 redundancy support, which allows a backup NAT device to continue the NAT function of a failed 28 The inventions claimed by the '427 and '370 Patents overcome a problem in the prior art master NAT device without incurring downtime after the failure. See id. at 2:54-62; '370 Patent at 2:59-3:3. 2.'195 Patent Brocade's 195 Patent, titled "System and Method for Providing Network Route Redundancy Across Layer 2 Devices," is unrelated to any of the other patents in this lawsuit. Its 6 application was filed April 2, 2007, and the patent issued on July 7, 2009.

The '195 Patent teaches "systems and methods for providing route redundancy across Layer 2 devices, as well as selected ports on L2 devices." '195 Patent at 1:38-40. The invention solves 9 network traffic problems encountered by networks that cover large geographic areas such as 10 large networks are moving towards using switches, rather than Layer 3 devices such as routers, to avoid latency problems associated with the use of Layer 3 devices. Id. at 1:64-66. "In a switched 13 network, all hosts or end nodes connected to the same physical Local Area Network ("LAN") 14 segment reside in the same broadcast domain, which has the potential of flooding the network with 15 traffic and making it essentially unusable as the network grows." Id. at 1:67-2:4. The '195 Patent 16 provides route redundancy to Layer 2 networks and improves on the shortcomings of the prior art. 17

The invention achieves route redundancy by having "a plurality of switches arranged in arbitrary 18 configuration or architecture, but must remain loop free through the use, for example, of spanning 19 tree or other protocol. Redundancy is provided through use of a virtual switch identified by an 20 address and having two or more layer switches which communicate with one another to elect a 21 master at any given time." Id. at 3:43-49. 22

Metropolitan Area Networks that span a single urban metropolitan environment. Id. at 1:52. These 3.A10's '185 Patent A10's '185 Patent, titled "Seamless Handoff for a Wireless LAN/Wired LAN Internetworking," claims methods of keeping a mobile device, known as a mobile terminal, 25 connected to a wireless local area network (WLAN) as it moves around and passes from one base 26 station's coverage area to another. The invention provides a method for seamlessly handing off a 27 mobile terminal from one base station to another without losing a network connection. See '185 28 Patent 1:5-10. The invention improves upon the prior art's "path elongation" method of using a 2

"virtual channel connection" ("VCC") to connect mobile terminals within a network. See id. at 3 1:60-65. The prior art's shortcoming was that as a mobile terminal with a VCC to another mobile 4 terminal moves from one base station's coverage to another, the distance the message must travel 5 increases, which leads to bandwidth waste and slows a network down. Id. at 2:31-32; 2:54-57. 6

The invention is a new handoff method that maintains a mobile terminal's VCC as the mobile 7 terminal moves from one base station's coverage to another, but reduces or eliminates path 8 elongation. Id. at 3:19-35. 9 10 a mobile terminal moves from a first base station to a second base station that is connected to the The invention's handoff method in the intraswitch mobility scenario completely eliminates 14 path elongation. Id. at 3:27-29. Under the prior art, when a mobile device moved from one base 15 station to another, data had to travel to the old base station first, back to the switch, and then to the 16 new base station. Id. at 2:31-54. Under the '185 Patent's method, the switch changes the data path 17 directly to the new base station and eliminates the path through the original base station. Id. at 18 "connection," "routing," and "complete" messages. Id. at 5:50-6:4. 20 21 completely eliminate, path elongation. Id. at 2:29-35. The '185 Patent teaches a handoff method 22 where the switch performs the path set-up, rather than the original base station. Id. at 2:29-30. The 23 path may be elongated from the switch connected to the original base station, to the new base 24 station, rather than from the original base station to the new base station. Id. at 2:30-33. 25 "routing," and "couple" messages. Id. at 7:8-11.

The invention teaches handoff methods for two scenarios: (1) "intraswitch mobility," where same switch, and (2) "interswitch mobility," where the mobile device moves from a base station associated with a first switch to a new base station associated with a second switch. Id. at 3:21-26. 13 3:27-29. This intraswitch handoff is achieved through four "control" messages: "location," 19 The invention's handoff method in the interswitch mobility scenario reduces, but does not Interswitch handoff is achieved by the issuance of four control messages: "location," "connection,"

The '185 Patent was filed July 20, 2009, and the patent issued November 23, 2010. A10's Taiwan affiliate, A10 Networks, Inc. Taiwan, purchased the '185 Patent from its original assignee, 3 the Industrial Technology Research Institute, on March 18, 2011. Declaration of Siddhartha M. 4 Patent No. 5,875,185, ECF No. 223 Ex. A. A10 acquired the '185 Patent on May 10, 2011. Id. 9 or any part" of a claim "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to 10 interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no Venkatesan in Support of Brocade's Motion for Summary Judgment of Noninfringement of U.S. 5


A.Summary Judgment

Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that summary judgment as to "all genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(b), (c). Material facts are those that may affect the outcome of the 13 case. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute as to a material 14 fact is "genuine" if the evidence is such that "a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the 15 nonmoving party." See id. "[I]n ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the judge must view 16 the evidence presented through the prism of the substantive evidentiary burden." Id. at 254. The 17 question is "whether a jury could reasonably find either that the [moving party] proved his case by 18 the quality and quantity of evidence required by the governing law or that he did not." Id. "[A]ll 19 justifiable inferences must be drawn in [the non-movant's] favor." See United Steelworkers of Am. 20 U.S. at 255). for its motion and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, interrogatory answers, 24 admissions and affidavits, if any, that it contends demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of 25 material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). A party opposing a properly 26 supported motion for summary judgment "may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of 27 v. Phelps Dodge Corp., 865 F.2d 1539, 1542 (9th Cir. 1989) (en banc) (citing Liberty Lobby, 477 21

The moving party bears the initial responsibility for informing the district court of the basis [that] party's pleading, but . . . must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); see also Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 250. The opposing party need 2 not show the issue will be resolved conclusively in its favor. See Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 248-- 3 . All that is necessary is submission of sufficient evidence to create a material factual dispute, 4 thereby requiring a jury or judge to resolve the parties' differing versions at trial. See id. 5 analysis. "First, the claims of the patent must be construed to determine their scope. Second, a 7 determination must be made as to whether the properly construed claims read on the accused 8 device." Pitney Bowes, Inc. v. Hewlett-Packard Co., 182 F.3d 1298, 1304 (Fed. Cir. 1999) As the Federal Circuit has noted, summary judgment of noninfringement is a two-step (internal citation omitted). "[S]ummary judgment of non-infringement can only be granted if, after 10 viewing the alleged facts in the light most favorable to the non-movant, there is no genuine issue whether the accused device is encompassed by the claims." Id. at 1304. "Whether a claim is infringed under the doctrine of equivalents may be decided on summary judgment if no reasonable 13 jury could determine that the limitation and the element at issue are equivalent." Zelinski v. 14

Brunswick Corp., 185 F.3d 1311, 1317 (Fed. Cir. 1999) (citing Warner-Jenkinson Co. v. Hilton Davis Chem. Co., 520 U.S. 17, 39 n.8 (1997)).


A.A10's Motion for Summary Judgment of Noninfringement of '427 and '370 Patents A10 makes clear that its noninfringement arguments "are premised on" the Court adopting A10's proposed construction of the term "base address corresponding to . . . pool of . . . addresses." See A10's '427 Mot. 7 (emphasis added); see also id. at 10 ("if the Court adopts A10's proposed 22 construction . . . A10 respectfully requests that the Court enter an Order granting A10's motion for 23 summary judgment . . . .") (emphasis added); A10's '427 Reply ("[B]ased on that construction, 24

Noninfringement as a matter of law.") (emphasis added); id. at 12 ("A10 has proposed a proper 26 claim construction to the Court, and moves for summary judgment conditioned upon its proposed 27 construction being adopted."). At the hearing, A10 reiterated that its summary judgment motion

A10's opening summary-judgment brief argued that A10 is entitled to judgment of depended upon the Court's adoption of A10's claim construction. In a separate order construing 2 the disputed terms, the Court rejected A10's proposed construction. Accordingly, A10's motion is 3

Even if the Court had adopted A10's proposed construction, however, the Court would 5 have still denied A10's motion. In its claim construction brief and at the hearing, A10 urged the 6 Court to construe "base address corresponding to . . . pool of . . . addresses" to mean "starting 7 address of . . . pool of . . . addresses."


A10 argues that under its construction, A10 is entitled to summary judgment because Brocade cannot show evidence that A10's accused devices practice the elements of "sharing,"

'370 Patent, even under A10's construction of the disputed term. 14 15 well as Brocade's expert, Dr. Rubin, which Brocade contends raises an issue of material fact as to 16 infringement. Mr. Chiong, Vice President of Engineering Program Management at A10, stated that 17 the AX devices provide for NAT redundancy by allowing "key resources," such as "NAT pools," 18 to "be transferred from one AX device to another AX device." Declaration of John Chiong in 19

Chen's and Rajkumar Jalan's Motion for Summary Judgment of Noninfringement of U.S. Patent 21

"each NAT pool typically contains a range of addresses, with the lowest address in the range being 23 referred to as a 'starting address.'" Id. at ¶ 4; see also Declaration of Nitin Gambhir in Support of 24

Brief; (2) Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment of Non-Infringement of U.S. 26

Judgment of Non-Infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,558,195, ECF No. 410 ("Gambhir Decl."), Ex. 28 "associating," or "owning" a "base address," as required by the relevant claims.

The Court finds that there is a material factual dispute as to whether A10's accused devices directly infringe Claims 1, 3-6, and 11 of the '427 Patent and Claims 1, 10, 18, 27, and 32 of the 13 Brocade points to evidence from the Declarations of John Chiong and Nitin Gambhir as Support of Defendant and Counterclaim-Plaintiff A10 Networks, Inc.'s, and Defendants Lee 20 Nos. ...

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