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JDS Technologies, Inc. v. Avigilon USA Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

April 9, 2018

JDS TECHNOLOGIES, INC., a Michigan corporation, Plaintiff.
AVIGILON USA CORPORATION, a Delaware corporation and AVIGILON CORPORATION, a Canadian corporation, Defendants.



         I. Introduction

         This is a patent case. JDS Technologies, Inc. (JDS) is suing Avigilon USA Corporation and Avigilon Corporation (collectively “Avigilon”) claiming infringement of two patents: U.S. Patent Nos. 6, 891, 566 (“the ‘566 patent”) and 8, 185, 964 (“the ‘964 patent”) (collectively, “the JDS patents”).[1] The patents share an identical specification and are both entitled “Digital Video System Using Networked Cameras.” JDS designated six paradigm claims and originally seventeen (17) words or phrases were at issue. Due to the complexity of the subject matter, the Court referred the Markman proceedings to a Special Master. (Doc. 57). The Special Master rendered a report and recommendation (Initial R&R). (Doc. 59). Avigilon objected. See Doc. 60, 61. In part because Avigilon advanced new claim constructions not considered by the Special Master in its objections and because in other instances Avigilon agreed with the Special Master's construction, the Court referred the matter to the Special Master for a supplemental report and recommendation. (Doc. 69). The Special Master has rendered a supplemental report and recommendation (Supp. R&R) on what were twelve (12) remaining disputed words and phrases (Doc. 73). JDS has not objected to the Supp. R&R. Avigilon has objected to the Supp. R&R and JDS has responded. See Docs. 74 and 76. There are now seven (7) disputed words and phrases. As will be explained, having reviewed the voluminous record, the Court is satisfied that the Special Master's recommendations are correct. Accordingly, the Supp. R&R will be adopted. A chart displaying the disputed words and phrases, the proposed constructions, and the Special Master's supplemental construction/Court's construction is attached as Exhibit


         II. The Papers

         As noted in the Supp. R&R, the briefing on claim construction has been extensive. In addition to the briefs, the Special Master rendered two report and recommendations, each over eighty (80) pages. There is no need to list all of the filings here. Suffice it to say that there has been no shortage of pages devoted to the issues which have all been fully, if not repeatedly, fleshed out.

         III. Legal Standards


         Fed. R. Civ. P. 53 states the appropriate standard of review for a district court in reviewing findings of fact and conclusions of law made or recommended by a Special Master. Rule 53(f)(3) provides as follows:

Reviewing Factual Findings. The court must decide de novo all objections to findings of fact made or recommended by a master, unless the parties, with the court's approval, stipulate that:
(A) the findings will be reviewed for clear error; or
(B) the findings of a master appointed under Rule 53(a)(1)(A) or (C) will be final.

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 53(f)(4) provides as follows:

Reviewing Legal Conclusions. The court must decide de novo all objections to conclusions of law made or recommended by a master.

See also Hochstein v. Microsoft Corp., 730 F.Supp.2d 714, 717 (E.D. Mich. 2010), aff'd 430 Fed.Appx. 898 (Fed. Cir. 2011) (“The Court reviews de novo factual findings and legal conclusions of the Special Master to which a specific objection has been made. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 53(f)). The Court may “adopt or affirm, modify, wholly or partly reject or reverse, or resubmit to the master with instructions.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 53(f)(1).


         The Special Master set forth the relevant law on claim construction which will not be repeated here. Briefly, claim construction is a matter of law for the Court. Markman v. Westview Instruments. Inc., 52 F.3d 967, 979 (Fed. Cir. 1995) (en banc), aff'd, 517 U.S. 370 (1996). The focus is on “what one of ordinary skill in the art at the time of the invention would have understood the term to mean.” Id. at 986. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has stated: “Claim terms generally are construed in accordance with the ordinary and customary meaning they would have to one of ordinary skill in the art in light of the specification and the prosecution history.” Aventis Pharma S.A. v. Hospira, Inc., 675 F.3d 1324, 1329 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 9, 2012) (citing Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303, 1312 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc)).

         III. Observations

         The Court is constrained to make some observations about Avigilon's objections. First, the objections do not comply with the local rules for type size.[2] In reviewing prior briefs, it is not clear whether Avigilon has ever complied with the type size requirements but Avigilon's objections to the Supp. R&R in particular are presented in a noticeably small print. Given that the Court has not limited the page length for any of the briefing -Avigilon's objections to the Supp. R&R run 25 pages for example - it makes little sense to file papers which are not in compliance with the local rules. Second, the first eleven pages of Avigilon's objections contain an “introduction” and “background” section which is in large measure an invalidity argument which was raised in a prior motion to dismiss by Exacq, in which Avigilon did not join, and which the Court denied. Avigilon also rather boldly suggests that if the Court adopts two of the Special Master's proposed constructions, the Court should have a status conference to set a schedule for Avigilon's forthcomming motion on invalidity. It also goes so far to request that the Court enter an order to show cause as to why it should not grant a motion to dismiss based on invalidity. Avigilon's cacophonic tone does little to advance their arguments. Putting aside these observations, the Court will consider Avigilon's objections in turn below.

         IV. The ...

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