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Csb-System International Inc v. Sap America

April 25, 2012

CSB-SYSTEM INTERNATIONAL INC., PLAINTIFF/COUNTERCLAIM DEFENDANT,
v.
SAP AMERICA, INC., DEFENDANT/COUNTERCLAIM PLAINTIFF.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Buckwalter, S.J.

MEMORANDUM

Currently pending before the Court is Plaintiff SAP America, Inc.'s ("SAP") Motion for Summary Judgment of No Willful Infringement. For the following reasons, the Motion is denied.

I. STATEMENT OF FACTS

A. The Patent

The patent involved in this case is U.S. Patent No. 5,631,953 ("the '953 Patent"), which claims a system or apparatus. (Def.'s Mot. Summ. J., Ex. A ("953 Patent").) This Patent recites eight claims, claim 1 of which states as follows:

A circuit arrangement for integration of EDP systems in utilization of telephone systems connected to a public ISDN or Euro ISDN telephone network, the circuit arrangement comprising a plurality of telephone extensions which are directly connectable to a telephone network selected from the group consisting of a public ISDN telephone network and Euro ISDN telephone network; a first line; an intelligent telephone system arranged so that said telephone extensions are connectable with said at least one telephone network through said first line and said intelligent telephone system; a plurality of personal computers; an integration element arranged between said intelligent telephone system and said personal computers, said integration element receiving signals via at least one connection element selected from the group consisting of an SDLC connection element and an ISDN connection element via a second line from said at least one telephone network via said intelligent telephone system and sending back signals to said at least one telephone network, said integration element also sending a data record assigned an appropriate information via a third line, via a LAN connected to a LAN server by a fourth line and via a fifth line to said personal computers again; a computing system; and a software layer arranged so that conversion of the signals into a data record and vice versa is carried by said integration element, by said computing system by said software layer and by said at least one connection element with an internal software. ('953 Patent, col. 5, line 52--col. 6, line 12.)

In the simplest of terms, the technology in this case concerns circuit arrangements of hardware and software that allow the integration of speech (telephone systems) with data systems. These systems permit agents in customer service call centers to obtain information from their personal computer about the person calling for assistance at the same time he or she takes the call. As explained by the parties' experts at the Markman hearing, when a person calls a customer service center, the technology inputs the caller's telephone number into a computer system which converts it into a computer-readable request. The server then processes the request, obtains information about the customer calling, and creates a "screen pop," wherein the various information about that particular customer will automatically appear on the screen of the agent's personal computer at the same time the agent answers the call. (N.T. June 7, 2011, 18:21-24--24:25, 59:12--63:24.) The agent may then use his or her personal computer to make requests from a centrally shared server-which stores all the data about the clients-to obtain additional information, transfer the customer to another agent, or conference in another agent. (Id. at 26:5--28:8, 58:9--59:10.) Both parties have agreed that the technology runs on what is called a client/server architecture, wherein the agent's personal computer (the client) runs the customer service application and the database server (the server) answers requests from the client to get data. (Id. at 24:14--20.) This is distinct from the host/terminal architecture, wherein the host runs and controls the application and holds all the data, and the agent's terminal is simply an input and output device. (Id. at 21:8--23:12.)

The U.S. application which led to the '953 patent was filed on August 25, 1995. The United States Patent & Trademark Office ("USPTO") allowed the claims as set forth in the '953 Patent. Ultimately the '953 patent issued on May 20, 1997.

B. The Accused Product

The accused products are the SAPphone Interface and the Integrated Communication Interface ("ICI") (collectively the "Accused Products"). The SAPphone was first introduced to the market in 1998. (Pl. Resp. Opp'n Mot. Summ. J., Ex. 14.) Subsequently, SAP developed the ICI, the successor product to SAPphone, and began to market it in 2003. (Id.)

C. Procedural History

Plaintiff CSB-System International, Inc. ("CSB") brought the present patent action against Defendant SAP in this Court on May 11, 2010, alleging that the Accused Products infringe on the '953 Patent held by Plaintiff. The parties submitted extensive briefing on several disputed claim terms and proceeded to a one-day Markman hearing*fn1 on June 7, 2011, at which time each side offered a short tutorial and the testimony of an expert witness. Thereafter, on July 27, 2011, the Court issued a lengthy opinion construing each of the disputed claims, but declining to rule on SAP's claims of indefiniteness until the summary judgment stage. This Order adopted, in large part, the definitions proposed by Defendants. CSB-Sys. Int'l v. SAP Am., Inc., No. Civ.A.10-2156, 2011 WL 3240783 (E.D. Pa. July 28, 2011).

Defendant filed the present Motion for Summary Judgment as to Plaintiff's claim of willful infringement on January 24, 2012, along with a multitude of other motions. Plaintiff responded on February 10, 2012, and Defendant filed its Reply Brief on February 21, 2012, making the Motion ripe for judicial review.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW ON SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Summary judgment is proper "if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(2). A factual dispute is "material" only if it might affect the outcome of the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). For an issue to be "genuine," a reasonable fact-finder must be able to return a verdict in favor of the non-moving party. Id.

On summary judgment, the moving party has the initial burden of identifying evidence that it believes shows an absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Conoshenti v. Pub. Serv. Elec. & Gas Co., 364 F.3d 135, 145--46 (3d Cir. 2004). It is not the court's role to weigh the disputed evidence and decide which is more probative, or to make credibility determinations.

Boyle v. Cnty of Allegheny, 139 F.3d 386, 393 (3d Cir. 1998) (citing Petruzzi's IGA Supermkts., Inc. v. Darling-Del. Co. Inc., 998 F.2d 1224, 1230 (3d Cir. 1993)). Rather, the court must consider the evidence, and all reasonable inferences which may be drawn from it, in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (citing United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962)); Tigg Corp. v. Dow Corning Corp., 822 F.2d 358, 361 (3d Cir. 1987). If a conflict arises between the evidence presented by both sides, the ...


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