ELBIT SYSTEMS LAND AND C4I LTD., ELBIT SYSTEMS OF AMERICA, LLC, Plaintiffs-Appellees
HUGHES NETWORK SYSTEMS, LLC, Defendant-Appellant
from the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Texas in No. 2:15-cv-00037-RWS, Judge Robert
Richard L. Rainey, Covington & Burling LLP, Washington,
DC, argued for plaintiffs-appellees. Also represented by
Kevin F. King, Ranganath Sudarshan; Kurt Calia, Palo Alto,
CA; Patrick Norton Flynn, Redwood Shores, CA.
William F. Lee, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP,
Boston, MA, argued for defendant-appellant. Also represented
by Lauren B. Fletcher, Kevin Goldman; Claire Hyungyo Chung,
Taranto, Mayer, and Chen, Circuit Judges.
Taranto, Circuit Judge.
Systems Land and C4I Ltd. and Elbit Systems of America, LLC
(collectively, Elbit) brought this action against Hughes
Network Systems, LLC (and other defendants no longer in the
case). Elbit alleged that Hughes infringed Elbit's U.S.
Patent Nos. 6, 240, 073 and 7, 245, 874. The jury found
system claims 2-4 of the '073 patent infringed and not
invalid, and it awarded damages. It also found no
infringement of the '874 patent. The district court later
found that the case is exceptional and that Elbit is entitled
to attorney's fees, but the court has not quantified the
fees. The '874 patent is not before us; nor is the
validity of the asserted claims of the '073 patent.
Hughes appeals the infringement finding and damages award for
claims 2- 4 of the '073 patent and the exceptionality
determination. We affirm as to infringement and damages. We
lack jurisdiction over the unquantified attorney's fees
decision, so we dismiss that portion of the appeal.
'073 patent is entitled "Reverse Link for a
Satellite Communication Network." The patent claims a
system for transmitting information from user terminals to a
central hub using satellite communication-that direction
being called a "reverse link." '073 patent,
col. 4, lines 45-65; id., col. 22, lines 51-59. Add
"a forward link," i.e., satellite
communication from the hub to user terminals, and the result
is "a complete two way communication system via
satellite." Id., col. 4, lines 45-50. To
transmit data to the hub, user terminals employ a
"transmitter means," which, in turn, has two
communication means: the first is for "transmitting
short bursty data," while the second is for
"continuous transmission of data." Id.,
col. 23, lines 30-35. The patent also describes a
"switching means" to switch between the two
communication means. Id., col. 23, lines 36- 39.
2. A multiple access communications system for use in a
satellite communication network, comprising:
a plurality of user terminals for generating data to be
transmitted over said multiple access communication system;
at least one hub for receiving data over said multiple access
communication system from said plurality of user terminals;
transmitter means within each user terminal for receiving
data to be transmitted from said user terminal to said hub,
said transmitter means including first communication means
for transmitting short bursty data in combination with second
communication means for continuous transmission of data;
switching means coupled to said transmitter means for
switching transmission between said first communication means
and said second communication means in accordance with
predefined criteria, and
receiver means within said at least one hub adapted to
receive data transmitted by said plurality of terminals
utilizing either said first communication means or said
second communication means,
wherein said switching means comprises means for switching
from said first communication means to said second
communication means when the length of a message received by
said transmitter means exceeds a predetermined threshold.
Id., col. 23, lines 22-48. Claim 3 describes an
"access communications system for use in a satellite
communication network" with the same limitations for
transmitting, communication, and switching means as claim 2.
Id., col. 23, line 49, through col. 24, line 9.
Claim 4 describes a "multiple access communications
system for use in a satellite communication network"
with the same limitations for transmitting, communication,
and switching means as claim 2. Id., col. 24, lines
relevant here, on January 21, 2015, Elbit sued Hughes for
infringement of the '073 patent. The limitations now at
issue, "communication means for continuous transmission
of data" and "switching means," were held to
be means-plus-function terms. Elbit Sys. Land & C4I
Ltd. v. Hughes Network Sys., LLC, No.
2:15-CV-37-RWS-RSP, 2016 WL 6082571, at *7, *14 (E.D. Tex.
Oct. 18, 2016) (Claim Construction Decision); J.A.
56-64 (affirming the magistrate judge's claim
constructions). The "second communication means"
was construed to require "continuous transmission of
data," and the corresponding structure was held to be
the "Channel Assignment Transmitter." Claim
Construction Decision at *7. The "switching
means" was construed to require "switching
transmission between said first communication means and said
second communication means in accordance with predefined
criteria," and the corresponding structure was held to
be a modem or a driver "performing the algorithms
disclosed in the '073 Patent at 10:30-11:40 or Figure 8,
and equivalents thereof." Id. at *14. The cited
portion of the '073 patent explains the two different
communication means and lists the criteria for switching from
first to second means, '073 patent, col. 10, line 58,
through col. 11, line 11, and for switching back to first,
id., col. 11, lines 26-36.
August 7, 2017, the jury found that Hughes infringed because
its products came within claims 2-4 of the '073 patent,
and that those claims are not invalid. The jury found that
Hughes did not infringe the '874 patent, a finding that
Elbit does not appeal. The jury awarded Elbit $21, 075, 750
in damages. The district court denied Hughes's post-trial
motions for judgment as a matter of law for non-infringement
and for a new trial on damages. J.A. 220-34; J.A. 245-50. The
district court also found that the case is exceptional and
granted Elbit's motion for attorney's fees. J.A.
260-65. The district court did not quantify the award. The
final judgment was entered on March 30, 2018.
timely appealed. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §
1295(a)(1) to consider the infringement and damages
decisions. Because the unquantified fee award is not a final
decision, we do not have jurisdiction to review the district
court's exceptionality finding.
challenges the jury's finding of infringement of the
'073 patent. In particular, Hughes argues that its
products do not include the claimed "continuous
transmission of data" communication means or the
switching means. See 35 U.S.C. § 271(a). We
review denials of motions for judgment as a matter of law de
novo under the relevant regional circuit's law and ask
whether the underlying jury findings were supported by
substantial evidence. See Bear Ranch, L.L.C. v.
HeartBrand Beef, Inc., 885 F.3d 794, 801 (5th Cir.
2018); i4i Ltd. P'ship v. Microsoft Corp., 598
F.3d 831, 841 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (following Fifth Circuit law),
aff'd on other issues, 564 U.S. 91 (2011).