On November 14, 2014, ALJ Dee Lord issued Order No. 53 in Certain Television Sets, Television Receivers, Television Tuners, and Components Thereof (Inv. No. 337-TA-910).
By way of background, this investigation is based on a January 28, 2014 complaint filed by Cresta Technology Corp. ("Complainant") alleging violation of Section 337 in the importation into the U.S. and sale of certain television sets, television receivers, television tuners, and components thereof that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,075,585, 7,265,792, and 7,251,466. See our January 30, 2014 and March 24, 2014 posts for more details on the complaint and Notice of Investigation, respectively.
According to the Order, Respondents MaxLinear, Inc. ("MaxLinear"); Sharp Corporation; Sharp Electronics Corporation; VIZIO, Inc.; TPV International (USA), Inc.; Top Victory Investments Ltd.; SIO International, Inc.; Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd.; Wistron Corp.; and Wistron Infocomm Technology (America) (collectively, the "MaxLinear Respondents") filed a motion for summary determination that the asserted claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,075,585 (the '585 Patent) and U.S. Patent No. 7,265,792 (the '792 Patent) are invalid for indefiniteness under 35 U.S.C. § 112(f) and are not infringed by the accused MaxLinear Products. At issue in the motion for summary determination was the "a signal processor for processing" claim limitation, which appears in the asserted independent claims of the '585 and '792 patents.
The MaxLinear Respondents argued that the "signal processor for processing" claim limitation should be construed under 35 U.S.C. § 112(f) as a means-plus-function term. As a means-plus-function limitation, the MaxLinear Respondents asserted that the claims are indefinite because the specification fails to disclose a signal processing algorithm for the digital signal processor.
In opposition, Complainant argued that the claim language at issue should not be construed as a means-plus-function claim term such that it invokes 35 U.S.C. § 112(f). Specifically, Complainant cited case law distinguishing claim language that describes specific processing from computer-implemented means-plus-function claims. Additionally, Complainant cited its own expert's testimony that he would not be confused regarding the scope of the claims.
ALJ Lord held that there are genuine issues of material fact precluding summary determination on whether the "processor for processing" limitations are subject to 35 U.S.C. § 112(f). ALJ Lord noted that the MaxLinear Respondents "largely ignore[d] the presumption that claim terms without the word 'means' are not subject to § 112(f)." Specifically, ALJ Lord held that the MaxLinear Respondents failed to consider the specification in determining whether the claim language at issue should be construed as a means-plus-function limitation. ALJ Lord further noted that neither party cited any of the recent Federal Circuit case law regarding § 112(f). Accordingly, ALJ Lord held that the MaxLinear Respondents did not adequately address the specification or the contrary testimony of CrestaTech's expert on whether the limitation conveys structure to one of skill in the art. Therefore, ALJ Lord denied the MaxLinear Respondents' Motion for Summary Determination.