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專利用詞「Correspond to」討論 - Broadcom Corp. v. Emulex Corp. (Fed. Cir. 2013)
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本篇討論常見用以「對應」元件的專利用詞「Correspond to」,案例為Broadcom Corp. v. Emulex Corp. (Fed. Cir. 2013)

本部落格曾報導此2013年Broadcom v. Emulex案,當時討論的重點是KSR判例之適用原則,當先前技術(多件)已經揭露了專利範圍中的元件,但卻沒有指出專利所解決問題,且沒有證據顯示為何(why)相關領域技術人員(PHOSITA)可以組合這些先前技術,專利所揭示發明應具有非顯而易見性(103)。這個判斷原則可以排除「後見之明」。

參考案例:Kinetic Concepts, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., 688 F.3d 1342, 1366 (Fed. Cir. 2012)
"finding invention nonobvious when none of the “reference[s] relate to the [problem] described in the patents”and no evidence was proffered indicating why a person having ordinary skill in the art would combine the references."


先前報導:相關技術人員知道技術,但可能不曉得待解決的問題(涉及KSR判例的適用)(
http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2013/11/ksr.html

---------------------(以上為過去報導)------------------------------------

除以上重要議題外,本篇討論Broadcom Corp. v. Emulex Corp. (Fed. Cir. 2013)案例中涉及專利用詞「Correspond to」的"較小議題"討論。

案件資訊:
原告/被上訴人:BROADCOM CORPORATION
被告/上訴人:EMULEX CORPORATION
系爭專利:US7,058,150
判決日:October 7, 2013

本案在地方法院判決被告Emulex侵權成立,且對侵權物核發永久禁制令。案件經被告上訴CAFC。

系爭專利US7,058,150關於一種高速收發器,系爭專利請求項Claim 8界定一個可以接收多序列數據的通訊裝置,裝置包括主時序產生器、多接收通道,以及每個接收通道上的插值(interpolator)控制模組(ICM),可以在通道上產生相位插值,以旋轉對應採樣訊號(類比轉數位)與序列數據之間頻率偏移的傳輸率的插值相位,降低數據間頻率偏移,通訊系統通過這些動作分辨出適當的傳輸率,調整採樣訊號的相位(持續旋轉)以符合傳輸頻率,利用時序與資料恢復的機制產生高速處理數據的效果。

8. A communication device configured to receive multiple serial data signals, comprising:
a master timing generator adapted to generate a master timing signal;
multiple receive-lanes each configured to receive an associated one of the multiple serial data signals, each receive-lane including
a phase interpolator adapted to produce a sampling signal having an interpolated phase, and
data path adapted to sample and quantize the associated serial data signal in accordance with the sampling signal; and
an interpolator control module coupled to each receive-lane, the interpolator control module being adapted to cause the phase interpolator in each receive-lane to rotate the interpolated phase of the sampling signal in the receive-lane at a rate corresponding to a frequency offset between the sampling signal and the serial data signal associated with the receive-lane so as to reduce the frequency offset between the sampling signal and the serial data signal.
簡單來說,這就是描述Broadcom的高速數據傳輸IC,其中有個特徵是「ICM」以一"對應(corresponding to)"採樣訊號與實際訊號的頻率差異的速率旋轉採樣訊號的相位。

本案例主要關於非顯而易見性的爭辯,面對的先前技術為EP0909035("Pickering"),Pickering提出產生震盪訊號的裝置,也就是時脈產生器,以及同步輸出入訊號的裝置,其中在接收器"解調"時將恢復"對應"時脈。

證據顯示,Pickering揭露了系爭專利請求項8的所有特徵,除了傳輸數據的"data path"以外,也就是說,Pickering教示了恢復時脈的技術,卻不是針對"data",系爭專利Claim 8是要同時恢復時脈與數據。

被告在面對侵權告訴時,解釋專利範圍理出其中一個限制條件:"at a rate corresponding to":

"at a rate corresponding to a frequency offset between the sampling signal and the serial data signal associated with the receive-lane so as to reduce the frequency offset between the sampling signal and the serial data signal"

問題:是否被告Emulex產品的半速率(half-rate)被讀入系爭專利中"at a rate corresponding to a frequency offset ..."的限制中?

"The first infringement question is whether the “rate” in Emulex’s half-rate architecture “correspond[s] to a frequency offset” as required by claim 8."

法院的解釋是,說明書相對內部證據顯示"corresponding to"沒有必要限定在全速率"full rate",使得被告產品的"half-rate"被讀入。

(解釋一)這裡即涉及如何解釋"corresponding to",其實這是專利權人可定義的用詞,法院判斷系爭專利的相關記錄並非定義"corresponding to"為"equal to"。

"Moreover the record does not contain evidence that the patentee acted as his own lexicographer to define “corresponding to” as “equal to.”"

以下法院意見反覆地在多個討論專利用詞的判決中出現,也就是,最重要地,解釋特定專利用語,除了本身的意思外,說明書表達了發明人的原本想法,如此案,法官認為申請專利範圍解釋時排除實施例(可以quarter-rate)是少見的,因此將不會限制專利範圍在"full-rate"。



(解釋二)解釋特定專利用語,自然還是需要"說明書"輔助:"the specification shows that the "corresponding to" claim term does not limit the invention to full rate architecture."。

這個用語解釋是讓地院/CAFC法官認定侵權成立的關鍵之一。

(補充)
本案另有「禁制令」的爭辯,特別針對"irreparable harm",也是值得參考,可以直接參考判決書。

核發「永久」禁制令的測試:four-factor test(參考案例:
eBay Inc. v. MercExchange LLC, 547 U.S. 388, 391 (2006):http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2014/04/ebay-inc-v-mercexchange-llc.html):
  1. 原告遭遇不可回復的損害
  2. 法律規定的賠償並不足夠
  3. 原告與被告之間難以公平地得到補償
  4. 公眾利益不會被永久禁制令所影響
本案地院針對禁制令判決摘錄:

"First, the district court concluded that Broadcom suffered irreparable harm and was likely to continue to do so because of evidence that Emulex achieved design wins and market share gains at Broadcom’s expense."

"Second, the district court concluded that money damages would be inadequate to compensate Broadcom because of evidence that Emulex’s design wins caused unquantifiable secondary benefits to Emulex."

"Third, the district court found that the balance of hardships favors an injunction because
Emulex’s sales of infringing products amounted to only a small portion of its revenues."

"Fourth, the district court concluded that, to balance the public interest and equitable factors, the permanent injunction should include a sunset period to protect certain of Emulex’s customers from supply disruptions."

"Emulex were competitors and that Broadcom lost market share while Emulex gained it—thus Broadcom established irreparable harm."

my two cents:
本案例的資訊是來自工業技術研究院「從美國訴訟淺談專利撰寫答辯及請求項用語解釋研討會」的議程所揭示的內容。(編按,版主並未參與研討,僅是因此得知這個案例有此議題,經重新理解後PO文)

這件,並未探討是否有後續發展(網路上查不到),但看來是Broadcom大勝,關鍵因素自然是因為侵權成立,侵權成立的關鍵是專利夠格。

這裡,根據系爭專利的相關證據(這仍是關鍵),法官將"corresponding to"(對應)解釋更為寬廣,也是一般專利權人希望的那樣,避免用"equal to"等更為狹隘的用語,可以合理且適當地放大解釋。


判決書:http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/12-1309.Opinion.10-3-2013.1.PDF(備份:https://app.box.com/s/ef9ph0rfg60xwnpy0wecck91p2mg99gn

Ron