709 F.3d 1365 (Fed. Cir. 2013), 2011-1191, SynQor, Inc. v. Artesyn Technologies, Inc.

Docket Nº:2011-1191, 2011-1192, 2011-1194, 2012-1070, 2012-1071, 2012-1072.
Citation:709 F.3d 1365, 106 U.S.P.Q.2d 1052
Opinion Judge:RADER, Chief Judge.
Party Name:SYNQOR, INC., Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ARTESYN TECHNOLOGIES, INC. and Astec America, Inc., Defendants-Appellants, and Bel Fuse, Inc., Defendant-Appellant, and Delta Electronics, Inc., Delta Products Corp., and Power-One, Inc., Defendants-Appellants, and Murata Electronics North America, Inc., Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd., and Murata Power Solutions
Attorney:Carter G. Phillips, Sidley Austin, of Washington, DC, argued for plaintiff-appellee. On the brief were Constantine L. Trela, Jr., Thomas D. Rein, Robert N. Hochman, Russell E. Cass and Stephanie P. Koh; and Michael D. Hatcher, of Dallas, TX. Of counsel was Thomas D. Rein. Donald R. Dunner, Finneg...
Judge Panel:Before RADER, Chief Judge, LOURIE, Circuit Judge, and DANIEL, Chief District Judge.[1]
Case Date:March 13, 2013
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
 
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709 F.3d 1365 (Fed. Cir. 2013)

106 U.S.P.Q.2d 1052

SYNQOR, INC., Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

ARTESYN TECHNOLOGIES, INC. and Astec America, Inc., Defendants-Appellants,

and

Bel Fuse, Inc., Defendant-Appellant,

and

Delta Electronics, Inc., Delta Products Corp., and Power-One, Inc., Defendants-Appellants,

and

Murata Electronics North America, Inc., Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd., and Murata Power Solutions, Inc., Defendants-Appellants,

and

Cherokee International Corp. and Lineage Power Corp., Defendants.

Nos. 2011-1191, 2011-1192, 2011-1194, 2012-1070, 2012-1071, 2012-1072.

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit.

March 13, 2013

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Carter G. Phillips, Sidley Austin, of Washington, DC, argued for plaintiff-appellee. On the brief were Constantine L. Trela, Jr., Thomas D. Rein, Robert N. Hochman, Russell E. Cass and Stephanie P. Koh; and Michael D. Hatcher, of Dallas, TX. Of counsel was Thomas D. Rein.

Donald R. Dunner, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP, of Washington, DC, argued for defendants-appellants Artesyn Technologies, Inc., et al. With him on the brief was Jason W. Melvin. Of counsel on the brief were Robert J. McAughan, Jr., Albert B. Deaver, Jr. and Jeffrey A. Andrews, Sutton McAughan Deaver PLLC, of Houston, TX. Of counsel was Erik R. Pukneys, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP, of Palo Alto, CA.

Andrew J. Pincus, Mayer Brown LLP, of Washington, DC, argued for defendants-appellants, Bel Fuse, Inc. and Delta Electronics, Inc., et al. With him on the brief were Gary M. Hnath, Paul W. Hughes and Robert E. McBride. Of counsel were Jeffrey T. Lindgren and Richard C. Vasquez.

Alan D. Smith, Fish & Richardson P.C., of Boston, Massachusetts, argued for defendants-appellants Murata Electronics North America, Inc., et al. With him on the brief were Whitney A. Reichel and Kevin Su. Of counsel was Steven R. Katz.

Before RADER, Chief Judge, LOURIE, Circuit Judge, and DANIEL, Chief District Judge.1

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RADER, Chief Judge.

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas granted SynQor, Inc. (SynQor) partial summary judgment of infringement against nine power converter manufacturers (Defendants) on U.S. Patents Nos. 7,072,190 ('190 Patent); 7,272,021 ('021 Patent); 7,564,702 ('702 Patent); 7,558,083 ('083 Patent); and 7,269,034 ('034 Patent). Specifically the District Court determined the " isolation" limitations of the asserted claims of the '190 Patent, '021 Patent, '702 Patent, and '083 Patent appear in Defendants' products. SynQor, Inc. v. Artesyn Techs., Inc. ( Claim Construction Order ), No. 07-CV-497, 2010 WL 2991037, at *7-8, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74808, at *27 (E.D.Tex. July 26, 2010); SynQor, Inc. v. Artesyn Techs., Inc. ( Summary Judgment Order ), No. 07-CV-0497 (E.D. Tex. Dec. 12, 2010). The trial court denied Defendants' motions for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) or new trial after a jury found all asserted claims infringed, not invalid, and awarded lost-profits damages of over $95 million. SynQor, Inc. v. Artesyn Techs., Inc., No. 07-CV-0497 (E.D.Tex. Aug. 17, 2011). The court awarded supplemental and enhanced damages for post-trial infringement. SynQor, Inc. v. Artesyn Techs., Inc. (Supplemental Damages Order), No. 07-CV-0497 (E.D.Tex. July 11, 2011). Based on a review of the record evidence, this court affirms.

I.

This case deals with high-efficiency DC-DC power converter systems used to power circuitry in large computer systems and telecommunication and data communication equipment. Such systems convert direct current (DC) from one voltage level to another. The patents at issue involve converters with separate " isolation" and " regulation" stages.

A converter provides " isolation" if its input and output are not directly connected by wires. The parties dispute whether, in the context of the patents, the term " isolation" requires the absence of a wired connection between any " two points," or only the absence of a wired connection " between an input and an output of a particular stage, component, or circuit." See Part IV below.

In an isolated circuit, a transformer conveys current to the load. The mere presence of a transformer does not " isolate" the circuit, however, because a wired connection between the input and output might also defeat the isolation. Isolation serves both as a safety feature and also as a stability guarantor by preventing unwanted " ground current" from flowing through the circuit. Isolated converters are typically larger, more complicated, and less efficient than non-isolated converters.

A converter provides " regulation" by restricting its output to a desired voltage even when the input voltage varies. A " fully regulated" converter monitors the output voltage and modifies the operation of the circuit to maintain a desired output voltage. A " semi-regulated" converter monitors the input voltage to maintain a desired output voltage.

SynQor's asserted patents relate to a multiple-stage distributed power architecture known as an " intermediate bus architecture" (IBA). In an IBA, external power (e.g., 120 volts alternating current (AC)) is first converted to relatively high-voltage DC power (e.g., 48 volts) by a " front end converter." Next, an " intermediate bus converter" steps down the 48 volt DC power to a lower voltage (e.g., 12 volts). The intermediate bus converter provides isolation

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either with no regulation or with semi-regulation. The final stage uses multiple non-isolating regulators to convert 12 volt DC to proper levels for power logic circuitry (e.g., 5 volts).

IBA improved prior art power converter systems that used integrated converters, each performing both isolation and regulation, to step the 48 volt input down to the voltage levels required to power logic circuitry. Large computer and communication systems use multiple voltage levels for different logic circuitry housed on a single load board, and the prior art systems required a separate isolating/regulating converter for each voltage level. This array took up valuable space on the load board, which could otherwise accommodate more memory and other logic circuitry. IBA saves space by using a single isolation stage with multiple non-isolating regulators. The non-isolating regulators can be smaller, less expensive, and more efficient than integrated isolating/regulating converters.

The '190 Patent, '021 Patent, and the '702 Patent cover power converter systems comprising a " non-regulating isolation stage" and a " plurality of non-isolating regulation stages, each receiving the output of the isolation stage." See, e.g., '190 Patent col. 17 ll. 22-42. The '083 Patent claims a " non-regulating isolating step-down DCDC power converter," which is the intermediate bus converter component of the power systems claimed in the other patents. '083 Patent col. 16 l. 59-col. 17 l. 29. The '034 Patent claims a " DC-DC converter system" comprising " isolation/semi-regulation circuitry" and a plurality of non-isolating switching regulators receiving the output of the isolation/semi-regulation circuitry. '034 Patent col. 17 ll. 22-43.

Defendants manufactured and sold intermediate bus converters overseas. SynQor asserted claims for induced and contributory infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(b) and (c), alleging Defendants sold the power supply components with knowledge that they would be used in, or were especially made to be used in, infringing systems imported into the United States. SynQor also asserted direct infringement under § 271(a) with respect to certain U.S. sales.

II.

This court reviews the grant or denial of a motion for JMOL under the law of the regional circuit, in this case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Revolution Eyewear, Inc. v. Aspex Eyewear, Inc., 563 F.3d 1358, 1370 (Fed.Cir.2009). The Fifth Circuit reviews without deference the denial of a motion for JMOL. Cambridge Toxicology Grp., Inc. v. Exnicios, 495 F.3d 169, 179 (5th Cir.2007). " Judgment as a matter of law is appropriate only when a ‘ reasonable jury would not have a legally sufficient evidentiary basis to find for the party on that issue.’ " Id. (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a)(1)).

Anticipation is a question of fact, and this court reviews the jury's findings for substantial evidence. Minn. Mining & Mfg. Co. v. Chemque, Inc., 303 F.3d 1294, 1301 (Fed.Cir.2002). On the issue of obviousness, this court reviews the jury's determination of underlying facts for substantial evidence, but reviews the ultimate conclusion of obviousness without deference. W. Union Co. v. MoneyGram Payment Sys., Inc., 626 F.3d 1361, 1369 (Fed.Cir.2010). Compliance with the written description requirement is a question of fact, and this court reviews the jury's findings for substantial evidence. Centocor Ortho Biotech, Inc. v. Abbott Labs., 636 F.3d 1341, 1347 (Fed.Cir.2011).

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A. " A plurality of non-isolating regulation stages"

Defendants assert that the doctoral thesis of Dr. Loveday H. Mweene (Mweene Thesis) anticipates claims 2 and 8 of the '190 Patent, claim 21 of the ' 021 Patent, claim 56 of the '702 Patent, and claim 1 of the '083 Patent. Similarly, Defendants argue that the Mweene Thesis combined with a paper on distributed power systems written by Bob Mammano would have made obvious claims 10 and 19 of the '190 Patent, claim 30 of the '021 Patent, and claim 71 of the '702 Patent.

Each of the forgoing claims, except claim 1...

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