IP Portfolio Manager
On May 20th, the Delaware District Court granted-in-part the plaintiff ART+COM’s motion in limine (cv-1:14-217-) to bar testimony by the defendant Google’s expert. The expert testimony was contradictory to the court’s claim construction order. The Court concluded that “[i]t is improper for counsel to argue conflicting claim constructions to the jury.” This dispute centers around step (e) of claim 1 of ART+COM’s patent (U.S. Patent No. RE44,550). Claim 1 is reproduced below:
A method of providing a pictorial representation of space-related data of a selectable object, the representation corresponding to the a view of the object by an observer with a selectable location and a selectable direction of view comprising:
(a) providing a plurality of spatially distributed data sources for storing space-related data;
(b) determining a field of view including the an area of the object to be represented through the a selection of the a distance of the observer to the object and the an angle of view of the observer to the object;
(c) requesting data for the field of view from at least one of the plurality of spatially distributed data sources;
(d) centrally storing the data for the field of view;
(e) representing the data for the field of view in a pictorial representation having one or more sections;
(f) using a computer, dividing each of the one or more sections having image resolutions below a desired image resolution into a plurality of smaller sections, requesting higher resolution space related space-related data for each of the smaller sections from at least one of the plurality of spatially distributed data sources, centrally storing the higher resolution space related space-related data, and representing the data for the field of view in a the pictorial representation; and
(g) repeating step (f), dividing the sections into smaller sections, until every section has the desired image resolution or no higher image resolution data is available.
The Court originally construed step (e) to require “displaying the data for the field of view in a pictorial representation having one or more sections.” Discussing this construction, the Court described it as allowing “for further processing and does not require the display to be an image.” Google, on the other hand, encouraged the Court to construe step (e) as requiring “displaying on a screen the data for the field of view in a pictorial representation.” Under this construction, Google would not infringe ART+COM’s patent “because it does not ‘display’ anything–rather, third party software, firmware and hardware would perform the ‘displaying’ step.”
The Court agreed with ART+COM in “that the ordinary meaning of ‘representing’ is broader than ‘displaying on a screen’ and can include symbolizing, standing for, or being a reasonable proxy for a subsequent viewable image.” The Court then turned to the specification and the prosecution history for evidence against Google’s proposed claim construction. The Court noted that the spec included the terms “display,” “display unit,” and “displaying” and that during the prosecution of the application giving rise to the ‘550 application ART+COM cancelled device claims which included a “display unit.” The Court treated this evidence as dispositive of its conclusion that ART+COM did not intend for claim 1 to include such a limitation.
We will continue to follow this case as it involves important issues in patent law specifically with respect to software patents.