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Gopro, Inc. v. C&A Marketing, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 24, 2017

GOPRO, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
C&A MARKETING, INC., et al., Defendants.

          CLAIM CONSTRUCTION ORDER RE: ECF NOS. 42, 48

          JON S. TIGAR, United States District Judge

         Before the Court is Plaintiff GoPro, Inc.'s (“GoPro”) Opening Claim Construction Brief, ECF No. 42, and Defendants C&A Marketing, Inc., C&A Licensing, LLC, and PLR IP Holdings, LLC's (collectively, “C&A”) Responsive Claim Construction Brief, ECF No. 42. The parties propose competing constructions of four terms of U.S. Patent No. 9, 025, 896 (the “'896 patent”). The Court will construe the terms as set forth below.

         1. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural History

         GoPro filed its complaint in this action on June 27, 2016, alleging infringement of the '896 patent, in addition to U.S. Patent No. 9, 282, 226 (the “'226 patent”).[1] ECF No. 1. On March 17, 2017, the parties filed their Joint Claim Construction and Prehearing Statement pursuant to Patent Local Rule 4-3. ECF No. 38. In that statement, the parties agreed that the asserted claims of the '226 patent “require no construction and should be given their plain and ordinary meaning.” Id. at 2. On April 28, 2017, GoPro filed its Opening Claim Construction Brief. ECF No. 42. On May 12, 2017, C&A filed its Responsive Claim Construction Brief. ECF No. 48. C&A attached to that brief the supporting Declaration of Alan C. Bovik (“Bovik Declaration”). ECF No. 48-2. On May 19, 2017, GoPro filed its Reply Claim Construction Brief. ECF No. 53. The same day, GoPro filed a Motion to Strike the Bovik Declaration on the ground that C&A did not properly disclose the testimony as required under the Court's Patent Local Rules. ECF No. 54. By Order dated May 31, 2017, the Court granted the Motion to Strike, ECF No. 62, and thus does not consider the Bovik Declaration in construing the disputed claims. On June 15, 2017, the Court conducted a Markman hearing.[2] ECF No. 71.

         B. The '896 Patent

         The '896 patent is titled “Compression and Decoding of Single Sensor Color Image Data.” ECF No. 38-2 ('896 patent) at Cover. The patent issued on May 5, 2015, but claims priority to a provisional application filed on March 22, 2006. Id The patent “relates to compression and retrieval of video content gathered from a single-sensor imager.” Id at 1:32-33. According to the patent, “[professional video cameras typically have three sensors to collect light, each filtered for red, green, and blue channels.” Id at 1:37-38. In contrast, “digital still photography . . . uses a single sensor design with individual pixels filtered for red, green, and blue . . . .” Id at 1:40-42. This “single-sensor” is sometimes called a “Bayer sensor.” Id at 1:44. Figure 1 of the '896 patent, reproduced here, is a graphical depiction of a typical Bayer sensor.[3]

         (Image Omitted)

         The image data collected from Bayer sensors - known as a “RAW image” - must generally be converted into YUV or RGB images that can be used by “traditional post-production tools.” Id at 1:52-54. This is typically done using a process known as “De-bayer filtering (or demosaicing), ” which the patent describes as follows:

De-Bayer filtering (or demosaicing) is the process of interpolating the missing color components at every pixel location. As acquired, the Bayer sensor only collects one of the three color primaries at every pixel site-the two other primaries are predicted via a range of different algorithms that typically take substantial compute time for high quality results.

Id at 4:14-20. To compress a Bayer image into a format like MPEG, the demosaicing process will take a 1920x1080 plane, for example, and expand it into three separate 1920x1080 planes, one corresponding to each of the primary colors (red, green, and blue). See e.g. id at 4:23-34. The disadvantage of this method is that it “increases the size of the data by 3x” and “potentially introduces visual artifacts.” Id The patent describes an alternative means of compressing a Bayer image: “encoding four quarter-resolution planes versus three full-resolution planes.” Id at 4:34-37. As an example, “[a] single high definition Bayer frame of 1920x1080 interleaved red, green, and blue pixels can be separated into four planes of quarter-resolution images, each consisting [of] 960x540 pixels of either the red component, blue component, or one of the two green components.” Id at 3:52-56. This is shown in Figure 7, reproduced in part below:

         (Image Omitted)

         According to the patent, this method reduces “the computational load” resulting in “simpler implementations and longer camera battery life, ” and reduces the size of the compressed data. Id. at 4:34-37. The patent describes that these planes can be used to construct a “preview” image, a lower resolution image that might be displayed, for example, in a viewfinder of a digital video camera. Id. at 4:54-5:5.

         The parties dispute four claim terms in claims 1 and 10 of the '896 patent. Claim 1 recites a method while Claim 10 recites the system corresponding to the method. Claim 1 is reproduced below, with the disputed claim terms highlighted in bold:

1. A method for decoding an encoded image, the method comprising:
storing encoded image data in a non-transitory computer-readable storage medium, the encoded image data representative of an original image at an original resolution, the original image comprising a plurality of image planes, the encoded image data comprising a set of encoded image planes each representative of one or more of the image planes of the original image;
receiving a request for a preview of the original image, the requested preview comprising the original image at a preview resolution less than the original resolution; and
in response to receiving the request for a preview of the original image:
accessing a subset of the set of encoded image planes, the subset comprising less than all of the set of encoded image planes; and
decoding, by a processor, the accessed subset of encoded image planes to produce the original image at the preview resolution.

         II. APPLICABLE LAW

         The construction of terms found in patent claims is a question of law to be determined by the court. Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., 52 F.3d 967, 979 (Fed. Cir. 1995) (en banc), aff'd, 517 U.S. 370 (1996). “[T]he interpretation to be given a term can only be determined and confirmed with a full understanding of what the inventors actually invented and intended to envelop with the claim.” Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303, 1316 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (quoting Renishaw PLC v. Marposs Societa' per Azioni, 158 F.3d 1243, 1250 (Fed. Cir. 1998)); see also MySpace, Inc. v. GraphOn Corp., 672 F.3d 1250, 1256 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (when construing claims, courts must consider “what was invented, and what exactly was claimed.”). The “correct construction, ” therefore, is one that “stays true to the claim language and most naturally aligns with the patent's description of the invention.” Id. While not every claim term must be construed, “[w]hen the parties present a fundamental dispute regarding the scope of a claim term, it is the court's duty to resolve it.” O2 Micro Int'l Ltd. v. Beyond Innovation Tech. Co., 521 F.3d 1351, 1362 (Fed. Cir. 2008); see also Every Penny Counts, Inc. v. Am. Express Co., 563 F.3d 1378, 1383 (Fed. Cir. 2009) (“[T]he court's obligation is to ensure that questions of the scope of the patent claims are not left to the jury. In order to fulfill this obligation, the court must see to it that disputes concerning the scope of the patent claims are fully resolved.”) (citation omitted).

         “It is a ‘bedrock principle' of patent law that ‘the claims of a patent define the invention.' ” Id. at 1312 (quoting Innova/Pure Water, Inc. v. Safari Water Filtration Sys., Inc., 381 F.3d 1111, 1115 (Fed. Cir. 2004)). The Federal Circuit has held that words of a claim are generally given their “ordinary and customary meaning, ” which is the “meaning that the term would have to a person of ordinary skill in the art in question at the time of the invention, i.e., as of the effective filing date of the patent application.” Id. at 1312-13. In some cases, the ordinary meaning of claim language is “readily apparent, ” and “claim construction . . . involves little more than the application of the widely accepted meaning of commonly understood words.” Id. at 1314. In other cases, “determining the ordinary and customary meaning of the claim requires examination of terms that have a particular meaning in a field of art.” Id. Claim construction may deviate from the ordinary and customary meaning of a disputed term only if “a patentee sets out a definition and acts as his own ...


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