The patentee alleged infringement of two patents describing a wireless communication technique that improved network efficiency by transmitting data from user devices through an intermediary node to a base station. The patentee alleged that Apple’s iPhones infringed both asserted patents when running on a 4G LTE network.
On summary judgment, the court adopted the accused infringer’s claim construction and granted judgment of non-infringement. The patentee filed a motion for reconsideration asserting a new theory of claim construction, which sought to overcome the district court’s determination that, unlike the accused device, the claimed invention required more than one user device to connect to the intermediary node. The district court denied the patentee’s motion for reconsideration after considering the merits of its new claim construction argument. The patentee appealed.
The Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment of non-infringement on the merits. Although the claim construction issues arose during summary judgment and on a motion for reconsideration—rather than the phase of trial normally dedicated to claim construction—the Federal Circuit held that the “clearly erroneous” standard set forth in Teva Pharm USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc., 135 S. Ct 831 (2015) applied. Under this standard, the Federal Circuit found the district court’s claim construction on summary judgment valid.
Finally, the Federal Circuit denied the accused infringer’s claim that the patentee had waived its right to raise new claim construction arguments in a motion for reconsideration. The Federal Circuit held that its general acceptance of “rolling claim construction” meant that it was within the district court’s discretion to consider the merits of claim construction arguments raised for the first time on a motion for reconsideration.