The opinion of the court was delivered by: Arthur J. Schwab United States District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION RE: DEFENDANT INUIT‟S OBJECTIONS TO THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE SPECIAL MASTER CONCERNING CLAIM CONSTRUCTION (DOC. NO. 42)
In this action, Plaintiff Noah Systems, Inc. ("Noah") accuses Defendant Inuit, Inc. ("Inuit") of infringing U.S. Patent No. 7,822,657 B2 (the ""657 patent").*fn1 The Court appointed a Special Master, Lynn J. Alstadt, to oversee the claims construction process. Doc. No. 26. A Report and Recommendation was filed on October 26, 2011. Doc. No. 40.
Presently before this Court are Defendant Inuit‟s Objections to the Special Master‟s Report and Recommendation Concerning Claim Construction (Doc. No. 42). Inuit moved this Court to modify the conclusion of the Special Master with regard to the following claim terms: (1) "first computer"/"second computer"; (2) "automated accounting of financial transactions"; (3) "standardized codes"; and (4) "means for transferring funds from said first entity to said other entities." Doc. No. 42.
After briefing from both parties and careful consideration of the applicable legal principles, the Court will rule as follows.
In patent infringement litigation, courts construe patents as a matter of law. See Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., 517 U.S. 370, 377-90 (1996). "It is a "bedrock principle‟ of patent law that "the claims of a patent define the invention to which the patentee is entitled the right to exclude.‟" Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303, 1312 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc) (quoting Innova/Pure Water, Inc. v. Safari Water Filtration Sys., Inc., 381 F.3d 1111, 1115 (Fed. Cir. 2005)).
The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Phillips provides United States District Courts with extensive instructions on how to conduct claim construction analysis:
A court construing a patent claim seeks to [afford] a claim the [ordinary and customary] meaning it would have to a person of ordinary skill in the art at the time of the invention . . . .
In some cases, the ordinary meaning of claim language as understood by a person of skill in the art may be readily apparent even to lay judges, and claim construction . . . involves little more than the application of the widely accepted meaning of commonly understood words . . . .
In many cases . . . determining the ordinary and customary meaning of the claim requires examination of terms that have a particular meaning in a field of art. Because the meaning . . . as understood by persons of skill in the art is often not immediately apparent, and because patentees frequently use terms idiosyncratically, the court looks to those sources available to the public that show what a person of skill in the art would have understood disputed claim language to mean . . . . Those sources include the words of the claims themselves, the remainder of the specification, the prosecution history, and extrinsic evidence concerning relevant scientific principles, the meaning of technical terms, and the state of the art . . . .
Within the class of extrinsic evidence, the court has observed that dictionaries and treatises can be useful in claim construction . . . . We have especially noted the help . . . technical dictionaries may provide to a court to better understand the underlying technology and the way in which one of skill in the art might use the claim terms . . . . Because dictionaries, and especially technical dictionaries, endeavor to collect the accepted meanings of terms used in various fields of science and technology, those resources have been properly recognized as among the many tools that can assist the court in determining the meaning of particular terminology to ...