The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ronald M. Whyte, District Judge.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OF INVALIDITY AND DENYING STAY
The defendants bring this motion for summary judgment arguing that plaintiff Compression Technology Solutions LLC's ("Compression Technology") method and apparatus claims directed to parsing information into packets based upon "context-insensitive" parsing set forth in Patent No. 5,414,650 ("'650 patent") are invalid. Defendants contend that asserted method claims 9 through 12 and apparatus claims 2 and 3 do not embody patentable inventions under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and that claims 2 and 3 have no corresponding structure for the means limitations claimed. See 35 U.S.C. § 112(f). The court agrees and, therefore, grants summary judgment in favor of defendants.
Compression Technology, a wholly owned subsidiary of Acacia Research Group, LLC, claims that defendants' products infringe claims 2, 3, and 9 through 12 of the '650 patent.
In September 2011, Compression Technology filed its patent infringement complaint in the Eastern District of Missouri. The Missouri court ordered the case transferred to the Northern District of California. See Order, Dkt. No. 171. Now, as a threshold matter prior to claim construction and discovery, the defendants bring their motion for summary judgment of invalidity on the grounds that: (1) the asserted claims do not involve patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101, and (2) claims 2 and 3, which contain means-plus-function limitations, fail to provide the required corresponding structure under 35 U.S.C. § 112(6).
The '650 patent, titled "Parsing Information Onto Packets Using Context-Insensitive Parsing Rules Based On Packet Characteristics," relates in general to information storage and communication and "more particularly to the parsing of information streams into groups or packets of information so as to improve the performance of various information processing applications such as data compression and file-contents verification." '650 patent col. 1 ll.1-4, col.1 ll.8-12.
Context insensitive parsing "will parse similar information streams into identical packets except for the packets parsed from portions of the streams near the dissimilarities." '650 patent col.2 ll.43-46. It tries to "minimize the number of differences in packet boundaries between similar streams or between similar portions of streams." Id. at col.8 ll.37-39. Context insensitive parsing is different from standard context sensitive parsing where a minor change early in one of two otherwise similar data streams would result in different output packets. For example, given an input stream of packets of single letters, outputting every ten letters as a single output packet would be an example of context sensitive parsing. Adding a single letter to one of two identical streams would change all the downstream packets of the edited stream such that they would no longer match the output packets of the unedited stream.
At issue in this case are independent claims 2, 9, and 11 and dependent claims 3, 10, and 12. Claim 9, which is the only claim specifically identified in the complaint, reads:
An information processing method for processing an information stream comprising input packets said method comprising
receiving said information stream and receiving an indication of the boundaries in said information strum [sic] for each of said input packets
classifying said input packets according to intrinsic characteristics of said input packets or transitions in quantitative characteristics of two or more of said input packets and
parsing said input packets into output packets in response to said classifying and
generating an indication of the boundaries of said output packets wherein each of said output packets comprises or represents one or more of said input packets.
Id. at col. 15 ll.46-59. Claim 11 adds the limitation that the input packets are one or more previously parsed packets. Id. Claim 2 is an apparatus claim with means-plus-function limitations with the same functional steps as method claim 9, although it omits parsing according to "intrinsic characteristics" and instead requires an "information processor." Id. at col.15 ll.1-15. Claim 2, which is representative of the means-plus-function claims, reads:
An information processor for processing an information stream comprising input packets, said information processor comprising
input means for receiving said information stream and for receiving an indication of the boundaries in said information stream for each of said input packets,
classification means for classifying said input packets according to transitions in quantitative characteristics of two or more of said input packets, and
parsing means responsive to said classification means for parsing said input packets into output packets and for generating an indication of the boundaries of said output packets, wherein each of said output packets comprises or represents one or more of said input packets.
Id. col.15 ll.1-15. Dependent claims 3 and 10 add the additional step of "generating an output stream," id. col. 15 ll.16-19, and dependent claim 12 reiterates the process in claims 9 and 11 using the output ...