United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER RE MOTION TO DISMISS RE: DKT. NO. 43
DONATO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
cases are related actions brought by the patentees over
dual-lens cameras in cell phones. Yanbin Yu and Zhongxuan
Zhang (“Yu”) sued Apple Inc. in Case No.
18-cv-06181-JD. Dkt. No. 1 (the Apple complaint is designated
“AC”). They filed a substantively similar
complaint against Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and its
subsidiary, Samsung Electronics America, Inc. (together
“Samsung”), in Case No. 18-cv-06339-JD. Dkt. No.
1 (the Samsung complaint is designated “SC”). The
cases involve one patent owned by Yu: U.S. Patent No. 6, 611,
289, entitled “Digital Cameras Using Multiple Sensors
with Multiple Lenses” (the “'289
patent”). AC ¶ 8-12; S.C. ¶ 10-14. Yu alleges
that the dual-lens cameras in Apple and Samsung cell phones
infringe the '289 patent. AC ¶ 13-25; S.C. ¶
has moved to dismiss for patent ineligibility under 35 U.S.C.
§ 101, and Samsung has joined the motion on the basis of
Apple's arguments. Dkt. No. 43; Dkt. No. 40 at 5 in Case
No. 18-cv-06339. In defendants' view, the asserted claims
cannot be patented because they “are directed to the
abstract idea of creating an image by using one image to
enhance another image, ” without any saving inventive
concept. Dkt. No. 43 at 6. In light of “the sources
properly considered on a motion to dismiss, such as the
complaint, the patent, and materials subject to judicial
notice, ” Aatrix Software, Inc. v. Green Shades
Software, Inc., 882 F.3d 1121, 1128 (Fed. Cir. 2018),
the AC and S.C. are dismissed under Section 101 and Alice
Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International, 573 U.S. 208
(2014), with leave to amend.
'289 patent was issued to Yu on August 26, 2003, and
expired January 15, 2019. Dkt. No. 1-1. The patent was
directed to improving digital photos, which were said to lack
the resolution and dynamic color range of traditional film
images. See AC ¶ 10; S.C. ¶ 12; Dkt. No.
1-1 at 1:24-2:22. The inventors described “a great
need” to improve the quality of digital photos without
“enormously incurring the cost of photosensitive chips
with multimillion photocells.” Dkt. No. 1-1 at 2:3-7.
To that end, the patent claims an invention of a digital
camera “capable of producing high resolution
images” with “better colors and details in a
greater range.” Id. at 2:4-16. The patent
proposes an arrangement of multiple image sensors, lenses and
a processor to “produce high quality and film-like true
color digital images.” Id. at 2:36-49.
parties' briefing focuses on claim 1 as the
representative independent claim. Dkt. No. 43 at 8; Dkt. No.
45 at 8; Dkt. No. 46 at 8. See Elec. Power Grp. v. Alstom
S.A., 830 F.3d 1350, 1352 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (approving
treatment of claims as representative in Section 101
challenge). Claim 1 recites:
1. An improved digital camera comprising:
a first and second image sensor closely positioned with
respect to a common plane, said second image sensor sensitive
to a full region of visible color spectrum;
two lenses, each being mounted in front of one of said two
image sensors; said first image sensor producing a first
image and said second image sensor producing a second image;
an analog-to-digital converting circuitry coupled to said
first and said second image sensor and digitizing said first
and said second intensity images to produce correspondingly a
first digital image and a second digital image;
an image memory, coupled to said analog-to-digital converting
circuitry, for storing said first digital image and said
second digital image; and
a digital image processor, coupled to said image memory and
receiving said first digital image and said second digital
image, producing a resultant digital image from said first
digital image enhanced with said second digital image.
Dkt. No. 1-1 at 10:38-58. All the remaining asserted claims
are dependent on claim 1. Id. at 10:59-11:6.
patent expressly eschews any special hardware or software in
favor of a “generic solution.” See Id.
at 2:3-7. The patent states that different types of sensors
may be used as part of the invention. Id. at
4:67-5:4. The lenses in the patent are contrasted to a
special process. Id. at 2:56-57 (“[N]o
micro-lenses process is needed.”). The
analog-to-digital circuitry is described simply as
“digitiz[ing] the output signals.” Id.
at 5:41-43. The image memory is not detailed. The image
processor is described functionally. Id. at 2:44-49
(“Using a set of digital image processes ...