On October 9, 2014, Chief ALJ Charles E. Bullock issued Order No. 13 construing the disputed claim terms of the asserted patents in Certain Vision-Based Driver Assistance System Cameras and Components Thereof (Inv. No. 337-TA-899).
By way of background, this investigation is based on a December 23, 2014 complaint filed by Magna Electronics Inc. ("Magna") alleging violation of Section 337 by TRW Automotive U.S. LLC of Livonia, Michigan ("TRW") by way of importation into the U.S. and sale of certain vision-based driver assistance system cameras that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,116,929 (the '929 patent) and 8,593,521 (the '521 patent). See our September 24, 2013 and November 8, 2013 posts for more details on Magna's complaint and the Notice of Investigation, respectively.
In the Order, ALJ Bullock first addressed the "estimator/"estimating" claim term. Magna and the Commission Investigative Staff ("OUII") argued that the specification clearly describes the estimator as "a recursive least squares algorithm." In opposition, TRW argued that the "estimator" must be the processor that performs the algorithm based on claim differentiation. ALJ Bullock agreed with Magna and OUII, holding that claim differentiation cannot trump the clear import of the specification. Accordingly, ALJ Bullock construed the term "estimator" as "a recursive least squares algorithm" and construed the term "estimating" as "using a recursive least squares algorithm."
ALJ Bullock then addressed the "inverse perspective transform" claim term. ALJ Bullock agreed with Magna and OUII's argument that the patentee acted "as his own lexicographer by stating 'the inverse perspective transformation is as follows.'" ALJ Bullock specifically rejected TRW's argument that the claim limitation required a processor because the physical hardware was removed from the claims during prosecution. Accordingly, ALJ Bullock construed "inverse perspective transform" as "equation (1) as it appears in the '287 patent at column 3, with the variables as described at 3:17-28."
ALJ Bullock next addressed the "mathematical lane marking model" claim term. ALJ Bullock noted that the arguments with respect to this claim term are the same as those discussed in relation to the "inverse perspective transform" claim term. ALJ Bullock thus held that the patentee acted as his own lexicographer and construed "mathematical lane marking model" as "equation (3) of the '287 patent at 3:38-61."
Lastly, ALJ Bullock addressed the "screen," "on the screen," and "screen image," which all presented a single issue for claim construction. Magna asserted that the intrinsic record leads to the necessary conclusion that the term screen means "a physical video display." In opposition, TRW argued that the specification makes it clear that the term screen does not correspond to a physical device, but instead refers to a two-dimensional representation of data. OUII agreed with TRW to the extent that the screen does not correspond to a physical display; however, OUII disagreed with TRW's importation of a two-dimensional coordinate system into the claim terms. ALJ Bullock held that the term screen "does not require a physical display and should be construed in the context of analyzing video image data." Accordingly, ALJ Bullock construed "screen" as "digital representation of the road profile ahead of the vehicle from the video camera," "on the screen" as "on the digital representation of the road profile ahead of the vehicle from the video camera," and "screen image" as "digital representation of the road profile ahead of the vehicle from the video camera."