Digest of Avid Technology, Inc. v. Harmonic, Inc., No. 2015-1246 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 29, 2016) (precedential). On appeal from D. Del. Before Reyna, Taranto, and Stoll.

Procedural Posture: Patentee Avid Technology, Inc. appealed a jury verdict of noninfringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,760,808 and 7,487,309 by Harmonic, Inc. CAFC vacated and remanded for a new trial.

  • Claim Construction: CAFC reviewed District Court’s claim construction of the term “independent storage units” de novo because it was based on an intrinsic-evidence determination. District Court erred in finding a prosecution disclaimer when it relied on two passages from an Avid submission that were readily susceptible to a narrower reading than the one needed to support the District Court’s construction. Because there was no clear and unmistakable disclaimer of central controllers that provide storage-unit-location information for retrieving segments, the standard for a prosecution disclaimer was not met and the jury instruction as to the construction of the term was incorrect.
  • Infringement: CAFC found that that claim construction error was not harmless and vacated the jury verdict of noninfringement by Harmonic because the improper claim construction was a central element of the infringement dispute. Moreover, Harmonic did not argue that the jury was required to find noninfringement based on any other claim elements in dispute. CAFC, thus, ruled that the instructional error was prejudicial, requiring a new trial. CAFC refused to grant Avid judgment as a matter of law as to infringement because another key term, the “in files” element, had not been construed.