You're viewing Docket Item 258 from the case Avago Technologies Fiber IP (Singapore) PTE. Ltd. v. IPtronics Inc. et al. View the full docket and case details.

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Case5:10-cv-02863-EJD Document258 Filed09/04/12 Page1 of 10

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

SAN JOSE DIVISION

CASE NO. 5:10-cv-02863 EJD
CLAIM CONSTRUCTION ORDER

AVAGO TECHNOLOGIES FIBER IP
(SINGAPORE) PTE. LTD. et al.,

Plaintiffs,

v.
IPTRONICS INC. and IPTRONICS A/S,

/

Defendants.

Plaintiff Avago Technologies Fiber IP (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (“Avago”) brings suit against
Defendants IPtronics, Inc. and IPtronics A/S (collectively, “IPtronics”) for infringement of U.S.
Patent Nos. 5,359,447 and 6,947,456. The parties dispute the proper construction of six terms used
in the claims of the patents. The court held a technology tutorial and claim construction hearing on
April 3, 2012. Upon consideration of the claims, specification, prosecution history, and other
relevant evidence, and after hearing the arguments of the parties, the court construes the contested
language of the patents-in-suit as set forth below.

I. LEGAL STANDARDS

Claim construction is a question of law to be decided by the court. Markman v. Westview
Instruments, Inc., 52 F.3d 967, 979 (Fed. Cir. 1995) (en banc), aff’d 517 U.S. 370 (1996). Patent
claims are construed in the manner that “most naturally aligns with the patent’s description of the
invention.” Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303, 1316 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (quoting Renishaw PLC v.

CASE NO. 5:10-cv-02863 EJD
CLAIM CONSTRUCTION ORDER

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Case5:10-cv-02863-EJD Document258 Filed09/04/12 Page2 of 10

Marposs Societa’ per Azioni, 158 F.3d 1243, 1250 (Fed. Cir. 1998)).

The first step in claim construction is to look to the language of the claims themselves. A
disputed claim term should be construed in a manner consistent with its “ordinary and customary
meaning,” which is “the meaning that the term would have to a person of ordinary skill in the art in
question.” Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1312–13. Additionally, the use of the term in other claims may
provide guidance regarding its proper construction. Id. at 1314.

The patentee’s use of a claim term in the specification is highly relevant to understanding

the proper context in which the term is used. Id. at 1315. Indeed, the specification is the “single best
guide to the meaning of a disputed term.” Id. (citing Vitronics Corp. v. Conceptronic, Inc., 90 F.3d
1576, 1582 (Fed. Cir. 1996)). A construction that imposes limitations not found in the claims is
erroneous unless it is supported by an unambiguous restriction elsewhere in the intrinsic record. In
these circumstances, “the inventor’s intention, as expressed in the specification, is regarded as
dispositive.” Id. at 1316.

A final source of intrinsic evidence is the prosecution record and any statements made by the
patentee to the United States Patent and Trademark Office regarding the scope of the invention. See
Markman, 52 F.3d at 980 (“Like the specification, the prosecution history provides evidence of how
the PTO and the inventor understood the patent.”); Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1317. Because the
prosecution history reflects an ongoing negotiation between the patentee and the USPTO, however,
it often is difficult to determine with exact precision the scope or meaning of particular statements.
Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1317. Thus, the prosecution history usually is accorded less weight than the
claims and the specification. Id.

The court also may consider extrinsic evidence, such as dictionaries or technical treatises,

especially if such sources are “helpful in determining the true meaning of language used in the
patent claims.” Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1318 (internal quotation omitted). Extrinsic evidence may aid
the claim construction analysis, but cannot be used to contradict the meaning of a claim term derived
from the intrinsic sources. Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1322–23.

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Case5:10-cv-02863-EJD Document258 Filed09/04/12 Page3 of 10

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II. CONSTRUCTION OF DISPUTED TERMS

“aperture larger than eight micrometers” (’447 patent, claim 1)

Avago’s proposed construction

The opening within the layer of a VCSEL
bounded by material formed in that layer that
determines the outer boundary of the active
area is greater than eight micrometers across in
any lateral dimension.

IPtronics’s proposed construction
The opening within the layer of a VCSEL
bounded by material formed in that layer that
determines the outer boundary of the active
area is greater than eight micrometers across in
all lateral dimensions. In the context of an
oxide VCSEL, the layer is the oxidation layer
and the aperture dimensions refer to the
non-oxidized portion through which current
flows.

The parties agree that at the time the patent was filed there was no consistent naming

convention for the aperture size of VCSELs. Deppe Decl. ¶ 46, ECF No. 203; Jewell Decl. ¶ 32. The
references show that square-shaped apertures were often referred to by their side length. Hence a
VCSEL with an 8μm × 8μm aperture was termed an “8-μm device.” Deppe Decl. Ex. B, ECF No.
203.

This is a difficult term to construe. Describing an arbitrary two-dimensional shape with only

one number necessarily leads to a loss of information. Thus trying to define an arbitrary two-
dimensional shape by a single number necessarily gives rise to ambiguity.

While both parties’ constructions are admirable for their simplicity (they are the same except

that Avago says “any” while IPtronics says “all”), each definition creates problems. Avago’s
construction implies that the size of a square aperture is the length of its diagonal even though the
only consistent convention that can be gleaned from the references is that square apertures are often
referred to by the length of one side. IPtronics’s construction defines an aperture by its shortest
dimension, discarding the measurements most relevant to determining whether the laser will operate
in multiple modes—which is the entire point of the claim. See Deppe Decl. ¶ 42, ECF No. 203.

At this time the court adopts the following construction, which addresses some deficiencies

of each party’s proposal at the cost of complication and incompleteness:

for an opening with two principal perpendicular axes (e.g., a square or rectangle, or an oval
or ellipse): “the opening within the layer of a VCSEL bounded by material formed in that

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layer that determines the outer boundary of the active area is greater than eight micrometers
across in the longer of the two principal dimensions”

Hence a 8μm × 8μm square would have an aperture of 8μm, while a 9μm × 3μm rectangle (or an
oval with a major axis of 9μm and minor axis of 3μm) would have an aperture of 9μm. This
construction is consistent with the references cited, but is not sufficient to determine the aperture of
many complicated shapes. Luckily, none of the references disclose VCSELs having apertures in
complicated shapes. If the parties sincerely believe that further construction is needed to decide
infringement or invalidity issues in this case, the court will consider revisiting the construction for
good cause shown upon the motion of either party.

Finally, nothing in the patent limits the invention to oxide VCSELs or supports any sort of
limitation on oxide VCSELs in particular. There does not seem to be any real dispute between the
parties about which part of an oxide VCSEL is the aperture; the only disagreement is whether the
court should construe the term as they apply to oxide VCSELs. Nothing in the patent supports
implementation-specific limitations, so the court is loath to include such a limitation in its
construction.

“multiple transverse mode of Operation” (’447 patent, claims 1 and 3)

Avago’s proposed construction

IPtronics’s proposed construction

A mode of operation in which the emitted light
from a single laser cavity or multiple
filamentation includes two or more transverse
modes, with at least two such modes having
relative intensity sufficient to contribute to the
performance of the network.

A mode of operation in which the emitted light
from a single laser cavity or multiple
filamentation includes two or more transverse
modes, meaning the two modes are spatially
separated in a transverse dimension and the
weaker mode is within 30dB of the stronger
mode.

When a claim term is expressed in “general descriptive words,” it is usually improper to

“limit the term to a numerical range that may appear in the written description or in other claims.”
Renishaw PLC v. Marposs Societa’ per Azioni, 158 F.3d 1243, 1249 (Fed. Cir. 1998). On the other
hand, “when a patentee uses a claim term throughout the entire specification, in a manner consistent
with only a single meaning, he has defined that term by implication.” Bell Atl. Network Servs. v.

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Case5:10-cv-02863-EJD Document258 Filed09/04/12 Page5 of 10

Covad Commc’ns Grp., Inc., 262 F.3d 1258, 1271 (Fed. Cir. 2001).

IPtronics’s proposed 30dB limitation is found nowhere in the patent, but instead is derived

from certain industry standards specifications. Jewell Decl. ¶ 46. Importing an intrinsically disclosed
numerical limitation into the claims of the patent is disfavored under Renishaw PLC; to import an
extrinsic limitation would be even more inappropriate. The court also finds that there is nothing
problematic about defining limitations of the laser by reference to the performance of the network
where, as here, the patent claims a network.

IPtronics does not argue the spatial separation requirement in its responsive brief. In any

case, construing the term to require “spatial separat[ion]” between different modes would confuse
the jury. While any single higher-order mode does exhibit something that might be called spatial
separation, the several modes necessarily all originate from the same space, i.e., the aperture of the
VCSEL. In that sense, a jury might wrongly conclude that a product could not infringe where the
several modes are all passing through the same space at the same time.

The court adopts Avago’s proposed construction.

“power supply” (’447 patent, claim 1)

Avago’s proposed construction

IPtronics’s proposed construction

ordinary meaning, or
A source of electrical power. The electrical
signal from the power supply may or may not
include data.
and
“bias current” (’447 patent, claim 1)

A power source that provides a bias current to
drive the laser into multiple transverse modes
of operation. The power supply does not
provide data.

Avago’s proposed construction

IPtronics’s proposed construction

ordinary meaning, or
A current which is applied to a component or
device to establish a reference level for its
operation.

A current supplied to the laser in an amount
equal to the average of the current necessary to
provide a one signal and the current necessary
to provide a zero signal.

The proposed explanatory language in IPtronics’s construction of “power supply” (“that

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provides a bias current to drive the laser into multiple transverse modes of operation”) is a limitation
on the power supply which is already included in the claim. Construing the claim to require a
limitation that is already present in the claim would serve no purpose. Nor is it necessary, as both
parties propose, to explain that a power supply is a “source of electrical power” or a “power source.”

Hence, the only meaningful dispute is about whether the power supply may supply data.

Nothing in the written description of the invention teaches that the power supply might also supply
data, but neither does any part of the written description foreclose such a configuration. The
preferred embodiment pictured in Figure 1 of the patent shows data coming from a separate source.
The patent claims are silent as to the source of the data signal.

There is no support in the specification for a limitation on the term “power supply” about

whether the electrical signal from the power supply (i.e., the bias current) contains data. The power
supply may or may not supply data, though of course it must still provide a bias current. There can
be no reasonable dispute that a structure identified as the power supply might also be allowed to
provide a data signal altogether separate from the bias current. But if the power supply emits only
one current (the bias current), any dispute about whether that current may carry data should be
directed at the “bias current” term. The parties have not briefed the issue of whether a bias current
may also carry data, and the court is not prepared to rule on that issue at this time.

IPtronics’s proposed construction of the term “bias current” incorporates an impermissible
limitation. Neither the specification nor the file history provides any support for requiring the bias
current to be halfway between the one level and the zero level. The statements IPtronics cites from
an oral argument in another litigation cannot limit the scope of the claim terms of the patent. Even if
those statements were relevant here—and they are not—they would not support IPtronics’s proposed
construction because they appear to merely refer to one embodiment of the invention. It may be true
that having the bias current be halfway between the one and the zero levels is the most practical way
of practicing the invention, but that fact does not limit the claim.

To avoid any further dispute of this issue later in the case, and because a jury would benefit
from a definition of bias current, the court tentatively adopts Avago’s proposed construction rather
than resting on ordinary meaning. If the parties sincerely believe that further construction of the term

CASE NO. 5:10-cv-02863 EJD
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Case5:10-cv-02863-EJD Document258 Filed09/04/12 Page7 of 10

“bias current” is needed to decide infringement or invalidity issues in this case—for example, with
respect to the data issue—the court will consider refining the construction for good cause shown
upon the motion of either party.

“negative peaking duration” (’456 patent, claims 12, 18, 19, and 20)

Avago’s proposed construction

IPtronics’s proposed construction

the duration in time of the negative peaking
transient

the duration in time of the negative peak[ing]
portion as stipulated, measured from the point
where the drive waveform takes a value less
than the value the waveform has at the instant
in time immediately before the logical ‘0’ to the
logical ‘1’ transition begins to the point where
it assumes this value again

The parties stipulated to the following constructions:
“negative peak[ing]” means “a transient present in the VCSEL drive waveform during less

than a full bit width of the logical ‘0’ part of the current drive waveform”

“negative peak[ing] portion” means “the portion of the negative peak transient part of the

drive waveform that has values below the value the waveform has at the instant in time immediately
before the logical ‘0’ to the logical ‘1’ transition begins.

“negative peaking depth” means “the minimum value, relative to the value the waveform has

at the instant in time immediately before the logical ‘0’ to the logical ‘1’ transition begins, of the
negative peak[ing] portion.”

The “negative peaking duration” is one of several parameters that the digital controller is

capable of using to adjusting the drive waveform. The patent defines the “negative peaking
duration” as the quantity TPKW. ’456 patent at 5:48–49. The quantity is referenced in Figure 7, which
shows an example drive waveform.

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Although the drawing is not very clear, the dotted line marking the leftmost bound (i.e., the
beginning) of the TPKW parameter marks a moment in time before the drive waveform reaches the
dotted line marked IBIAS.1 The only reasonable interpretation, then, is that it marks the moment when
the ‘1’ to ‘0’ transition begins.

Adapting IPtronics’s construction to conform to the definition provided in the specification,

the court construes “negative peaking duration” to mean “the duration in time of the negative
peaking transient in the drive waveform, beginning at the instant the drive waveform takes a value
less than the value it maintains during a logical ‘1’, continuing through the time when the drive
waveform takes its minimum value, and ending at the moment the drive waveform again takes the

1 The lowermost dotted line (marked “0%”) obviously refers to the minimum value of the

drive waveform current. At the trough of the bold line representing the drive waveform, that dotted
line is completely covered. Similarly, the IBIAS dotted line is completely covered by the drive
waveform after the TPKW period. But the leftmost dotted line representing the beginning of the TPKW
period is not similarly covered at the time at which the drive waveform crosses IBIAS. Rather, the
leftmost dotted line is distinctly visible adjacent to the waveform above the IBIAS line. IPtronics’s
expert agrees with this conclusion, yet somehow comes to a different construction by adding a new
line to the drawing in the patent. See Jewell Decl. ¶¶ 80–82.

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Case5:10-cv-02863-EJD Document258 Filed09/04/12 Page9 of 10

value that it will maintain until the logical ‘0’ to logical ‘1’ transition begins.” Construing the claim
in a materially different way would necessarily be inconsistent with Figure 7.

“digital controller” and “integrated digital controller” (’456 patent, claims 4, 5, 8, 15, 18, and
19)

Avago’s proposed construction

IPtronics’s proposed construction

A “digital controller” is electronic circuitry that
uses digital data to control the properties of the
drive waveform.
A digital controller is “integrated” if it is
interconnected with, and either inseparably
associated with or on the same supporting
material as the laser driver.

Electronic circuitry that is located on the same
chip as the laser driver and that programs the
properties of the drive waveform using digital
data.

Because some of the claims refer to a “digital controller” and some refer to an “integrated

digital controller,” the terms “integrated” and “digital controller” must be construed separately. The
parties’ constructions of “digital controller” are very similar, but Avago’s is preferable because it
does not introduce the new term “program” to the claim.

A person having ordinary skill in the art reading the ’456 patent would understand

“integrated” to mean “on the same chip.” In the “Summary of Invention,” the patent describes that
“the digital controller is integrated into the driver IC [integrated circuit].” ’456 patent at 3:32–33
(emphasis added). Although hybrid integrated circuits exist (and existed at the time the patent was
filed), they are the exception to the ordinary meaning of “integrated circuit,” which usually refers to
a monolithic circuit. Jewell Decl. ¶ 84. Elsewhere, the specification discloses that “one aspect of the
present invention is the integration of a digital controller in the laser driver.” ’456 patent at 5:22–24
(emphasis added). For the digital controller to be integrated “into the driver IC” or “in the laser
driver,” a person having ordinary skill in the art would understand that the digital controller was also
on the chip.
//
//

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Accordingly, the court adopts Avago’s construction of the term “digital controller,”and

construes “integrated” to mean “on the same chip.”

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Dated: September 4, 2012


EDWARD J. DAVILA
United States District Judge

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