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Htc Corporation v. Technology Properties Limited

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

September 20, 2013

HTC CORPORATION AND HTC AMERICA, INC., Plaintiffs,
v.
TECHNOLOGY PROPERTIES LIMITED, et al., Defendants.

ORDER RE: PRELIMINARY JURY INSTRUCTIONS Re: Docket No. 513

PAUL S. GREWAL, Magistrate Judge.

1. WHAT A PATENT IS AND HOW ONE IS OBTAINED

This case involves a dispute relating to a United States patent. Before summarizing the positions of the parties and the legal issues involved in the dispute, let me take a moment to explain what a patent is and how one is obtained.

Patents are granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (sometimes called "the PTO"). The process of obtaining a patent is called patent prosecution. A valid United States patent gives the patent owner the right to prevent others from making, using, offering to sell, or selling the patented invention within the United States, or from importing it into the United States, during the term of the patent without the patent holder's permission. A violation of the patent owner's rights is called infringement. The patent owner may try to enforce a patent against persons believed to be infringers by a lawsuit filed in federal court.

To obtain a patent one must file an application with the PTO. The PTO is an agency of the federal government and employs trained examiners who review applications for patents. The application includes what is called a "specification, " which must contain a written description of the claimed invention telling what the invention is, how it works, how to make it and how to use it so others skilled in the field will know how to make or use it. The specification concludes with one or more numbered sentences. These are the patent "claims." When the patent is eventually granted by the PTO, the claims define the boundaries of its protection and give notice to the public of those boundaries.

After the applicant files the application, a PTO patent examiner reviews the patent application to determine whether the claims are patentable and whether the specification adequately describes the invention claimed. In examining a patent application, the patent examiner reviews records available to the PTO for what is referred to as "prior art." The examiner also will review prior art if it is submitted to the PTO by the applicant. Prior art is defined by law, and I will give you specific instructions as to what constitutes prior art at a later time. However, in general, prior art includes things that existed before the claimed invention, that were publicly known, or used in a publicly accessible way in this country, or that were patented or described in a publication in any country. The examiner considers, among other things, whether each claim defines an invention that is new, useful, and not obvious in view of the prior art. A patent lists the prior art that the examiner considered; this list is called the "cited references."

After the prior art search and examination of the application, the patent examiner then informs the applicant in writing what the examiner has found and whether any claim is patentable, and thus will be "allowed." This writing from the patent examiner is called an "office action." If the examiner rejects the claims, the applicant then responds and sometimes changes the claims or submits new claims. This process, which takes place only between the examiner and the patent applicant, may go back and forth for some time until the examiner is satisfied that the application and claims meet the requirements for a patent. The papers generated during this time of communicating back and forth between the patent examiner and the applicant make up what is called the "prosecution history." All of this material becomes available to the public no later than the date when the patent issues.

The fact that the PTO grants a patent does not necessarily mean that any invention claimed in the patent, in fact, deserves the protection of a patent. For example, the PTO may not have had available to it all the information that will be presented to you. A person accused of infringement has the right to argue here in federal court that a claimed invention in the patent is invalid because it does not meet the requirements for a patent.

2. PATENTS AT ISSUE AND OVERVIEW OF THE PARTIES

This case involves one United States patent, the "asserted patent, " obtained by Charles H. Moore and Russell H. Fish, III, and transferred by Mr. Moore and Mr. Fish to TPL. United States Patent Number 5, 809, 336 lists Mr. Moore and Mr. Fish as the inventors. For convenience, the parties and I will often refer to U.S. Patent Number 5, 809, 336 as the '336 patent, 336 being the last three numbers of the patent number.

The Plaintiffs in this case are HTC Corporation and HTC America. For convenience, the parties and I will often refer to Plaintiffs as HTC. The Defendants in this case are Technology Properties Limited, Alliacense Limited, and Patriot Scientific Corporation. For convenience, the parties and I will often refer to Defendants as TPL and Patriot.

2.1 SUMMARY OF CONTENTIONS

To help you follow the evidence, I will now give you a summary of the positions of the parties.

HTC filed suit in this court seeking a declaration that no valid and enforceable claim of the 336 patent is infringed by HTC. HTC also argues that claims 1, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, ...


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