Trading Techs. Int’l, Inc. v. eSpeed, Inc., Case Nos. 2008-1392,-1393 & -1922, Slip Op. (Fed. Cir. Feb. 25, 2010) (Rader, J.) (Clark, J. concurring).
Writing for a panel including Judge Lourie and Eastern District of Texas District Judge Clark, Judge Rader affirmed each of the challenged decisions from Judge Moran’s jury trial in this patent litigation involving futures trading software.
For much more on this case, click here to read numerous posts in the Blog’s archives analyzing Judge Moran’s opinions and various aspects of the jury trial. Judge Moran construed the claims of the patents-in-suit, ruled upon several summary judgment motions and presided over the jury trial. The jury found that defendants’ (collectively “eSpeed”) Future View software willfully infringed the patents and that the patents were valid, awarding plaintiff Trading Technologies (“TT”) $3.5M. Judge Moran remitted the damages overall to approximately $2.5M.
The most interesting aspect of the decision is the discussion of the de novo review of claim construction decisions. Judge Rader spent two and a half pages explaining the fact-law dichotomy of claim construction and concluded that claim construction required resolution of evidentiary and factual issues before construing the disputed terms:
In sum, claim construction involves many technical, scientific, and timing issues that require full examination of the evidence and factual resolution of any disputes before setting the meaning of the disputed terms.
And District Judge Clark wrote a concurring opinion solely to argue against de novo review:
[de novo review] may result in the unintended consequences of discouraging settlement, encouraging appeals, and, in some cases, multiplying the proceedings.
After a de novo review of his decisions, the Court upheld Judge Moran’s constructions. “Static display of prices” meant "a display of prices comprising price levels that do not change positions unless a manual re-centering command is received." And a “static condition” meant that “the price axis never changes positions unless by manual re-centering or re-positioning.” While Judge Moran’s constructions may have appeared narrower than the patent intended initially, they were supported by both the intrinsic and extrinsic evidence. Because eSpeed’s Dual Dynamic and eSpeedmeter systems had mandatory re-centering features, they did not literally infringe.
Doctrine of Equivalents
The court upheld Judge Moran’s ruling that the doctrine of equivalents did not apply to the static elements in the claim. Even if the accused products only re-centered once or twice a day, allowing that re-centering to be captured by the doctrine of equivalents would vitiate the claims. Furthermore, prosecution history estoppel also barred equivalents. The patentee differentiated his invention by explaining that its "price axis do[es] not move."
The Court upheld Judge Moran’s ruling overturning the jury’s willfulness finding. eSpeed’s prompt redesign efforts and immediate removal of infringing products were not objectively reckless. And TT offered no evidence that eSpeed sold Future Views during the contested period.
The Court held that "single action of a user input device" was not indefinite. Judge Moran correctly construed the term as requiring "an action by a user within a short period." One of ordinary skill in the art could distinguish between single and multiple actions, even when a "single action" was a double-click.
The Court held that there was an issue of material fact regarding the priority date warranting a jury trial. The Court upheld the use of patent law experts, and found a sufficient basis for the jury’s priority decision:
Considering the undisputed knowledge of those skilled in the art, disclosure of a species in this case provides sufficient written description support for a later filed claim directed to a very similar and understandable genus. Accordingly, the patents-in-suit are entitled to claim priority to the provisional application.
The Court upheld Judge Moran’s ruling that failure to disclose certain software to the PTO was not inequitable conduct. The software was not material because the software’s use after the priority date would not have impacted the examiner’s analysis. And confidential use of the software for personal purposes was experimental.