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Semcon IP v. Amazon.com, Inc.

CLAIM CONSTRUCTION MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Claim Construction E



The Parties’ Positions

Plaintiff submits: The specific operating conditions listed in Defendant’s proposed construction are exemplary conditions described in the Asserted Patents. As exemplary embodiments, they should not be read into the claims. Dkt. No. 48 at 16.

In addition to the claims themselves, Plaintiff cites the following intrinsic and extrinsic evidence to support its position: Intrinsic evidence: ’061 Patent col.5 ll.21–29. Extrinsic evidence: Carbonell Decl. ¶¶ 47–50 (Plaintiff’s Ex. E, Dkt. No. 48-6 at 19–20).

Defendant responds: The operating conditions or characteristics of the claims are limited to those described in the Asserted Patents: operating frequency, operating voltage, operating temperature, and time the processor spends in an idle state. Specifically, the conditions do not include “instructions to be executed by the processor.” Such instructions were disclaimed as operating conditions during prosecution of the ’061 Patent. A “plain meaning” construction threatens to improperly allow operating conditions or characteristics to encompass instructions to be executed. Dkt. No. 50 at 16–18.

In addition to the claims themselves, Defendant cites the following intrinsic evidence to support its position: ’061 Patent col.2 l.67 – col.3 l.12; ’061 Patent File Wrapper September 8, 2008 Reply to Action Closing Prosecution in Inter Partes Reexamination at 2 (Defendant’s Ex. D, Dkt. No. 50-5 at 7).

Plaintiff replies: The patentee did not disclaim instructions to be executed from the scope of operating conditions. Rather, the patentee amended certain claims to include that a determination is made “independently of instructions to be executed by the processor.” This means that “instructions to be executed” are actually within the scope of “operating conditions,” else there would have been no need to amend the claims. Dkt. No. 53 at 8.

Analysis

There are two issues in dispute. First, whether the recited operating “conditions,” “characteristics,” and “parameters” of the processor are limited to those listed in the Asserted Patents. They are not. Second, whether the recited operating “conditions,” “characteristics,” and “parameters” of the processor necessarily excludes “instructions to be executed by the processor.” They do not.

The Asserted Patents’ list of operating conditions, namely, “the present frequency and voltage of operation, the temperature of operation, the amount of time the processor spends in one of what may be a number of idle states in which various components of the system are quiescent,” ’061 Patent col.5 ll.23–28, is not exhaustive. “[V]oltage and frequency monitoring” is expressly exemplary, id. at col.3 ll.2–5 (using “such as” to introduce voltage and frequency monitoring), as is monitoring of “temperature data.” Id. at col.3 ll.5–9 (using “e.g.” to introduce temperature data). Other exemplary condition monitoring includes “detecting other operations of the system including commands to be executed from which a particular type of operation to be executed may be determined.” Id. at col.3 ll.9–12 (using “including” to introduce a list of other operations detected). The patents also refer to “various operating characteristics” with reference to U.S. Patent App. No. 09/417,930. Id. at col.3 ll.12–15. Further, the patents disclose monitoring “various conditions of the processor that relate to power expenditure by the processor” which “may include …the amount of time the processor spends in one of what may be a number of idle states in which various components of the system are quiescent.” Id. at col.5 ll.21–28. Relatedly, the patents mention ramping up the frequency and voltage for a “short time,” suggesting the time of overclocking may also be an operating condition that is monitored. See id. at col.7 ll.45–58; Carbonell Decl. ¶ 49, Dkt. No. 48-6 at 20. Ultimately, the listed operating conditions/characteristics/parameters are not exhaustive as Defendant suggests.

Except as expressly provided in the claims, the “instructions to be executed by the” processor/processing device condition is not excluded from the claimed operating conditions/characteristics/parameters. Claim 1 of the ’247 Patent recites: “determining a level of permitted power consumption by a processing device from a set of operating conditions of the processing device, with the determining the level of permitted power consumption not based upon instructions to be executed by the processing device.” This expressly states that the “instructions to be executed by the processing device” are not part of the “operating conditions” used in “the determining [a] level of permitted power.” This suggests that “operating conditions” does not inherently exclude “instructions to be executed by the processing device.” Further, amending Claim 1 during prosecution of the ’061 Patent reexamination to expressly remove “instructions to be executed by the processor” from the conditions used in determining a reduced maximum power consumption level is not a broad disclaimer of “instructions to be executed by the” processor/processing device from the scope of “operating conditions” regardless of the role of those conditions in a claim.

Accordingly, the Court rejects Defendant’s proposal to limit the terms to “the present frequency and voltage of operation of the processor, the temperature of operation of the processor, or the amount of time the processor spends in one of what may be a number of idle states” and to necessarily exclude “instructions to be executed by the processor.” The Court hereby holds that the Operating-Conditions terms have their plain and ordinary meanings without the need for further construction.


Case No. 2:18-cv-00192

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