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CONNECTEL, LLC v. ITXC

March 16, 2004.

CONNECTEL, LLC, Plaintiff
v.
ITXC, INCORPORATED, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES KNOLL GARDNER, District Judge

OPINION

This matter is before the court on the Motion for Summary Judgment Declaring Certain Claims in Issue Invalid and/or Not Infringed filed by defendant on October 17, 2002.*fn1 On February 10, 2004, the undersigned conducted a hearing and argument upon the issues of claim construction raised in Page 2 defendant's motion.*fn2 Page 3

  In its motion, defendant seeks to have the court construe three phrases in United States Patent Number 6,016,307 ("the `307 patent"),*fn3 seeks summary judgment on infringement, and seeks summary judgment on whether the `307 patent is valid. Because we conclude that the specification and the prosecution history of the `307 do not permit the meaning which plaintiff seeks to attribute to the phrases "property of the data file" and "measuring of said parameters", we grant defendant's motion for claim construction. Because we conclude that resolution of the motion for summary judgment upon the issues of infringement and patent validity requires a hearing upon Daubert*fn4 issues and upon alleged violations of Rule 26(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, we deny defendant's motion for summary judgment without prejudice to refile pending a hearing on those issues. Accordingly, we grant defendant's request for a hearing regarding the testimony of Regis J. Bates Jr., and permit defendant to reassert its motion for summary judgment Page 4 on the issue of validity after the hearing.

  PROCEDURAL HISTORY

  The within civil action was initiated on May 23, 2000 by a one-count Complaint. Plaintiff avers that defendant is infringing upon the `307 patent, which is owned by Connectel, by assembling, offering to sell, or selling a device that falls within one or more of the claims expressed in the `307 patent without paying Connectel a licensing fee or royalty.*fn5 On July 11, 2000, defendant answered the Complaint and filed a counterclaim which alleged that the `307 patent is invalid. See 35 U.S.C. § 102.

  This matter is before the court on federal question jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331, 1338.

  Venue is proper in the United State District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania because acts of patent infringement allegedly occurred within the judicial district.

  See 28 U.S.C. § 118, 1391(b), 1391(c); 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b). Both parties have made a jury demand.

  CLAIM CONSTRUCTION

  Before we may determine whether summary judgment is Page 5 appropriate on the issues of infringement or patent invalidity, we must construe the disputed claims of the patent. See Vitronics Corporation v. Conceptronics, Inc., 90 F.3d 1576, 1581-1582 (Fed Cir. 1996). The parties dispute the meaning the inventor attributes to the phrases "property of the data file" and "measuring of said parameters" in the claims of the `307 patent.

  The `307 patent contains 28 claims, two of which, claims 1 and 14, are independent claims. Claim 1, which is the independent claim at issue, reads:
In a telecommunications switching system comprising a plurality of interfaces, each of said interfaces interconnected with an associated telecommunications path capable of transferring a data file from a first memory to a remote destination, each of said telecommunications paths having predetermined parameters associated therewith stored in a second memory in said switching system and variable parameters associated therewith, a method of determining which of said plurality of telcommunications paths should be utilized for transferring the data file from said first memory, said method comprising the steps of:
a) analyzing a property of the data file to be transferred;
b) measuring said variable parameters and said predetermined parameters;
c) analyzing said measured variable and said predetermined parameters; and
  d) determining which of said paths provides an optimal set of characteristics for transferring the file to the remote destination in accordance with said analyzed variable parameters and predetermined parameters and said analyzed Page 6 data file property.

 Complaint, Exhibit A.

  Standard of Review

  "It is well-settled that, in interpreting an asserted claim, the court should look first to the intrinsic evidence of record, i.e., the patent itself, including the claims, the specifications and, if in evidence, the prosecution history." Vitronics, 90 F.3d at 1582. These sources are the most important evidence of not only the applicant's intended meaning, but also serves "as an official record that is created in the knowledge that its audience is not only the patent examining officials and the applicant, but the interested public." Biogen, Inc. v. Berlex Laboratories, Inc., 318 F.3d 1132, 1140 (Fed ...


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