As we previously reported, Cisco and Ruckus Wireless filed complaints against Innovative Wireless Solutions (IWS) in the Western District of Texas for declarations of non-infringement and invalidity of three of IWS’ patents allegedly covering WiFi technology. In their claim construction briefing, the parties disputed the meaning of the term “CSMA/CD”, which stands for “Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection.” The court issued a Markman claim construction opinion holding that IWS acted as its own lexicographer in the patents-in-suit by expressly referencing the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.3 Ethernet standard’s definition of the term CSMA/CD. This term, therefore, was construed to incorporate the IEEE standard’s definition of it.
On Tuesday, the parties stipulated to a final judgment of non-infringement of IWS’ patent claims in light of the court’s claim construction ruling. The parties stipulated that the accused “communications path” associated with each accused product “complies with the IEEE 802.11 (g), (n) and/or (ac) amendments, (ii) is not wired, and (iii) does not ‘utiliz[e] twisted-pair wiring.’” “In particular, each Accused Product contains one or more radio transceivers (in connection with other circuitry) for communicating wirelessly with devices that are compliant with the IEEE 802.11 (g), (n) and/or (ac) protocols.” “IWS’s infringement contentions identify those wireless communications as satisfying the ‘bidirectional communications path’ and ‘communications path’ limitations.”
While the parties stipulated that the accused products practiced certain portions of the IEEE 802.11 standards, the parties nonetheless agreed that, in light of the Court’s claim construction ruling, the accused products
have not infringed and currently do not infringe the Asserted Claims of the Patents-in-Suit for at least the reason that the accused communications path associated with each Accused Product is not a ‘bidirectional communications path’ or ‘communications path’ ‘utilizing twisted-pair wiring that is too long to permit conventional 10BASE-T or similar LAN (Local Area Network) interconnections’.
Cisco, Ruckus and IWS, “therefore, stipulate[d] to entry of a final judgment that the Accused Products have not infringed and currently do not infringe the Asserted Claims of the Patents-in-Suit.”
IWS reserved the right to appeal the claim construction ruling. If IWS chooses to do so and it successfully challenges that ruling, the Federal Circuit may remand the case to the district court for further proceedings on claim construction or to determine whether Cisco or Ruckus’ products infringe IWS’ patents.
On Wednesday, the Court entered the final judgment pursuant to the parties’ stipulation.
This case hihglights a few points that may arise when litigating standard essential patents. First, court’s may look to see whether disputed claim terms incorporate definitions from standards adopted by standard setting organizations (SSOs). Second, even in cases where the court finds that a disputed claim term incroporates a standard’s definition, and the alleged infringer agrees that its products practice that standard, there is still a possibility that the accused product does not infringe the patent.