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Golden Bridge Technology Inc v. Apple, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

May 14, 2014

GOLDEN BRIDGE TECHNOLOGY INC, Plaintiff,
v.
APPLE, INC., Defendant.

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OF INVALIDITY, NONINFRINGEMENT, NO PRE-SUIT DAMAGES AND DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STRIKE (RR: DKT NOS. 296, 304, 306, 308)

PAUL S. GREWAL, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Golden Bridge Technology Inc. accuses Defendant Apple, Inc. of infringing claims 5, 6, and 7 of U.S. Patent No. 6, 075, 793. Before the court are three motions for summary judgment filed by Apple, as well as a motion to strike.[1] Having considered the papers and arguments of counsel, the court DENIES each motion.

I. BACKGROUND

This case relates to spread spectrum code division multiple access mobile technology that allows mobile wireless stations, such as cell phones, to communicate with a fixed base station. In the mid-1990s, the 3G Universal Mobile Telecommunications System standard was adopted, which uses CDMA technology.

As relevant to GBT's infringement position, one aspect of the UMTS 3G standard is the use of a Dedicated Physical Control Channel to transmit pilot signals and other header information data and the use of Dedicated Physical Data Channels to transmit data between the mobile device and base station. The header channel is created by multiplying an Orthogonal Variable Spreading Factor by the DPCCH.

1. The Patent-in-Suit

The 793 patent was filed February 6, 1998 and issued June 13, 2000.[2] Although ultimately assigned to GBT, the claimed invention was developed by Dr. Donald Schilling and Dr. Joseph Garodnick. The patent discloses "[a] multichannel-spread-spectrum system for communicating a plurality of data-sequence signals from a plurality of data channels using parallel chip-sequence signals in which fewer than all of the channels include header information."[3]

In certain prior art spread-spectrum systems, each channel transmits pilot signals and other header information in addition to data.[4] The pilot signals and other header information are used by the receiver to synchronize the channels and piece together the received data. The 793 patent's alleged point of novelty is putting pilot signals and other header information in only one channel, leaving the other channels free to transmit only data. By eliminating the header in all but one channel, the 793 transmitter can transmit more data in the same bandwidth as other transmitters.[5] The 793 patent synchronizes the header and data channels using control and timing signals generated by a processor linked to both.[6]

Figure 3 shows a schematic of the invention:

Claim 5 of the 793 patent requires:
5. A multichannel-spread-spectrum transmitter for communicating a plurality of data-sequence signals from a plurality of data channels using parallel chip-sequence signals, comprising: a header device, coupled to a first data channel of said plurality of data channels, for concatenating a header to a first data-sequence signal to generate a header frame;
a processor, coupled to the header device and to the plurality of data channels, for synchronizing the plurality of data channels;
spread-spectrum means, coupled to the plurality of data channels, for spread-spectrum processing the plurality of data-sequence signals by a plurality of chip-sequence signals, respectively, thereby generating a plurality of spread-spectrum channels, the plurality of spread-spectrum channels including a spread-spectrum-header channel generated by processing the header frame with a first chip-sequence signal, and a plurality of spread-spectrum-data channels;
combiner means, coupled to said spread-spectrum means, for algebraically combining the plurality of spread-spectrum channels as a multichannel-spread-spectrum signal; and carrier means, coupled to said combiner means, for transmitting the multichannel-spread-spectrum signal over a communications channel at a carrier frequency.

Claim 6, which depends from claim 5, requires a header channel and at least three data channels. Claim 7 is independent and similar to claims 5 and 6. The primary difference is that claim 7 recites the use of "product devices" for multiplying the channels with their respective chip-sequence signals.[7]

2. The Prior Art

The sole reference Apple relies on in its motion to establish invalidity, U.S. Patent No. 6, 175, 558, was filed on December 30, 1997 and issued January 16, 2001.[8] The 558 patent discloses a multichannel CDMA transmitter that "periodically insert[s] pilot symbols into one channel only of multiplexed channels."[9] The 558 patent transmits the pilot signals at timed intervals while the data channels are not transmitting. Figures 12 and 13 of the patent illustrate one embodiment of this scheme:

Figure 12 shows a schematic of one embodiment and Figure 13 shows the signals produced from that embodiment.[10] In this embodiment, "PL" or pilot signal 905, a "ramp up" signal 910 and a "ramp down" signal 911 are selectively input into the header channel through switch 904-0.[11] When the header channel is transmitting, no data is transmitted through the other channels. Switches 904-1 through 904-n are open.[12] When the header channel is not transmitting, switch 904-0 is open and switches 904-1 through 904-n are closed.[13]

As seen in Figure 13, the switches 904-0 through 904-n create a transmission sequence of: ramping up signal 1002 on header channel, pilot signal 1001 on header channel, data transmission through data channels, pilot signal 1001 on header channel, ramping down signal 1003 on header channel, a pause or "guard time" 1004 with no data transmitted, and then repeating the cycle. The 558 patent does not disclose how the opening and closing of the switches is coordinated.

The Patent and Trademark Office did not consider the 558 patent before issuing the 793 patent.

II. LEGAL STANDARDS

A. Motion to Strike

The Northern District of California's Local Patent Rules require that parties lay out their infringement and validity contentions early enough to give opponents a fair shot at rebuttal. The rule "exists to further the goal of full, timely discovery and provide all parties with adequate notice of and information with which to litigate their cases."[14] The rules replace the "series of interrogatories that [parties] would likely have propounded" without them.[15] They are "designed to require parties to crystalize theories of the case early in the litigation and to adhere to those theories once they have been disclosed."[16] They are also ...


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