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In re Papst Licensing Gmbh & Co. Kg Litigation

United States District Court, District Circuit

October 8, 2013

IN RE PAPST LICENSING GMBH & CO. KG LITIGATION. MDL No. 1880
v.
Papst 08-cv-865[1] This document relates to Hewlett-Packard

MEMORANDUM OPINION RE: HEWLETT-PACKARD'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

ROSEMARY M. COLLYER, District Judge.

Papst Licensing GmbH & Co. KG, a German company, sues multiple manufacturers of digital cameras for alleged infringement of two patents owned by Papst: U.S. Patent Number 6, 470, 399 (399 Patent) and U.S. Patent Number 6, 895, 449 (449 Patent). Generally, Papst contends that digital cameras are "interface devices" that infringe the Patents.

Hewlett-Packard Company (HP), one of the Camera Manufacturers who is a party to a First Wave Case in this Multi District Litigation, [2] moves for summary judgment of noninfringement because, among other reasons, the Court already struck all of Papst's infringement contentions against products manufactured by HP. The motion for summary judgment will be granted.

I. FACTS[3]

A. The Invention

The invention at issue is a "Flexible Interface for Communication Between a Host and an Analog I/O Device Connected to the Interface Regardless of the Type of the I/O Device." 399 Patent, Title; 449 Patent, Title. Michael Tasler invented and patented the "interface device" and later sold the Patents to Papst. The invention was never produced or used.

The "interface device" is designed to provide data transfer between a data transmit/receive device and a computer without the need for special software; this is accomplished by telling the computer that the interface device is a transmit/receive device already known to the computer (and for which the computer already has drivers, i.e., software), regardless of what kind of data transmit/receive device actually is attached to the interface device. 399 Patent, Abstract; 449 Patent, Abstract; see also 399 Patent 5:67 & 6:1-22; 449 Patent 4:66-67 & 5:1-22.[4]

The interface device according to the present invention therefore simulates, both in terms of hardware and software, the way in which a conventional input/output device functions, preferably that of a hard disk drive. As support for hard disks is implemented as standard in all commercially available host systems, the simulation of a hard disk, for example, can provide host device-independent use. The interface device according to the present invention therefore no longer communicates with the host device or computer by means of a specially designed driver but by means of a program which is present in the BIOS system (Basic Input/Output System) and is normally precisely matched to the specific computer system on which it is installed, or by means of a specific program for the multi-purpose interface.

399 Patent 5:5-20; 449 Patent 4:9-24 (same). By directing the computer to communicate using customary software already in the computer, the interface device fulfills its purpose-to provide "communication between a host device and a data transmit/receive device whose use is host device-independent and which delivers a high data transfer rate." 399 Patent 3:24-27; 449 Patent 3:20-23 (same). In other words, the invention seeks to capitalize on software customarily found in a computer to allow communication with various data transmit/receive devices.

The 449 Patent is a continuation or divisional patent that is quite similar to the 399 Patent. The Patents share the same block diagram drawings, Figures 1 and 2. See, e.g., 399 Patent 9:15-16 ("Figure 2 shows a detailed block diagram of an interface device, according to the present invention"); 449 Patent 8:15-16 (same). The 399 and 449 Patents also share much of the same specification. Even so, the 449 Patent covers other aspects of the invention; for example, the 449 Patent omits references to analog-to-digital data conversion. Compare 399 Patent 12:54-60 with 449 Patent 11:57-58.

Pursuant to Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., 517 U.S. 370 (1996), the Court construed the contested claims of the 399 and 449 Patents.[5] See Claims Constr. Op. [Dkt. 336]; Order [Dkt. 337]. As relevant here, the Court interpreted the "second connecting device" limitation in the 399 Patent to mean "a physical plug or socket for permitting a user readily to attach and detach the interface device with a plurality of dissimilar data transmit/receive devices, including a sampling circuit for sampling the analog data provided by the data transmit/receive device and an analog-to-digital converter for converting data sampled by the sampling circuit into digital data." Claims Constr. Op. [Dkt. 336] at 38-40. In the 449 Patent, the Court held that "second connecting device" means "a physical plug or socket for permitting a user readily to attach and detach the interface device with a plurality of dissimilar data transmit/receive devices." Id.

B. HP and the HP Accused Cameras

In its Final Infringement Contentions, Papst accused the First and Second Wave Camera Manufacturers of infringement. See generally Final Infringement Contentions [Dkt. 416] (FICs).[6] The Final Infringement Contentions specify the products that are accused of infringement by manufacturer and model number. See FICs (Tables) (listing all of the Accused Products). The Accused Products include 59 point-and-shoot digital cameras that were manufactured by HP, the "HP Accused Cameras."

HP exited the digital camera business in 2007. HP Mot. for Summ. J. (HP MSJ) [Dkt. 454], Ex. 48 (Mewes Decl.). When it was in that business, it manufactured and sold basic point-and-shoot digital cameras with limited functionality. Id. Papst agrees that the HP Accused Cameras do not have the features many of the other Accused Products have, such the ability ...


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