Honeywell Intern. Inc. v. Hamilton Sundstrand, 02-1005.

Citation370 F.3d 1131
Decision Date02 June 2004
Docket NumberNo. 02-1005.,No. 02-1082.,02-1005.,02-1082.
PartiesHONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL INC. (formerly known as AlliedSignal Inc.) and Honeywell Intellectual Properties, Inc. (formerly known as AlliedSignal Technologies, Inc.), Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. HAMILTON SUNDSTRAND CORPORATION (formerly known as Sundstrand Corp.), Defendant-Cross Appellant.
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Robert G. Krupka, Kirkland & Ellis, of Los Angeles, CA, for plaintiffs-appellants. With him on the brief were Jonathan F. Putnam, Todd S. Schulman, Lee Ann Stevenson and Vickie Reznik, of New York, NY. Of counsel on the brief was John Donofrio, General Counsel, Honeywell Aerospace, of Phoenix, AZ. Of counsel were Christian Douglas Wright and Josy W. Ingersoll, Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP, of Wilmington, DE.

Richard F. Ziegler, Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, of New York, NY, for defendant-cross appellant. With him on the brief were Lawrence B. Friedman, Joshua H. Rawson, David H. Herrington, Justin S. Anand and Christopher P. Moore.

Before MAYER, Chief Judge, NEWMAN, MICHEL, LOURIE, CLEVENGER, RADER, SCHALL, BRYSON, GAJARSA, LINN, DYK, and PROST, Circuit Judges.

Opinion for the court filed by Circuit Judge DYK, in which Chief Judge MAYER and Circuit Judges MICHEL, LOURIE, CLEVENGER, RADER, SCHALL, BRYSON, GAJARSA, LINN, and PROST join. Opinion dissenting in part filed by Circuit Judge NEWMAN.

DYK, Circuit Judge.

Honeywell International Inc. and Honeywell Intellectual Properties, Inc. (collectively "Honeywell"), the assignees of the patents in suit, brought suit against Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation ("Sundstrand") for infringement of claims 8, 10, 11, 19 and 23 of United States Patent No. 4,380,893 (the "'893 patent") and claim 4 of Patent No. 4,428,194 (the "'194 patent"). All of the asserted independent claims were originally dependent claims that were rewritten into their present independent form during prosecution. The broader original independent claims were cancelled.

The jury found that the patents in suit were valid and, although not literally infringed, infringed under the doctrine of equivalents. The district court entered judgment against Sundstrand. Honeywell Int'l Inc. v. Hamilton Sundstrand Corp., 166 F.Supp.2d 1008 (D.Del.2001).

Following our recent decisions in Deering Precision Instruments, L.L.C. v. Vector Distribution Systems, Inc., 347 F.3d 1314 (Fed.Cir.2003), and Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Apotex, Inc., 350 F.3d 1235 (Fed.Cir.2003), we hold that the rewriting of dependent claims into independent form coupled with the cancellation of the original independent claims creates a presumption of prosecution history estoppel. Accordingly we vacate the judgment of infringement and remand for determination of whether Honeywell can rebut the presumption of surrender under Festo Corp. v. Shoketsu Kinzoku Kogyo Kabushiki Co., 535 U.S. 722, 122 S.Ct. 1831, 152 L.Ed.2d 944 (2002), remanded to 344 F.3d 1359 (Fed.Cir.2003) (en banc). We affirm the district court's judgment rejecting Sundstrand's counterclaims of invalidity.

BACKGROUND
I

The Honeywell patents are directed to an aircraft auxiliary power unit ("APU"), a small gas turbine engine usually located in the tail section of an airplane. The APU generates electricity and incorporates a load compressor to provide compressed air needed both to start the aircraft's main engines and to control the environment of the aircraft's cabin during flight. During flight, the amount of compressed air required for these purposes fluctuates substantially. A valve is used to control the amount of air exiting the compressor through the main air duct, which supplies compressed air to the aircraft's systems. Rapid changes in the demand for compressed air needed can produce "surge," a flow instability that occurs when pressure builds up in the main air duct. In a surge condition, the air attempting to exit the compressor's main air duct is unable to do so. Instead the airflow reverses direction, surging back into the compressor and potentially damaging the APU. The APU must therefore be designed in such a way as to control surge. Prior systems controlled surge by drawing in more air than was needed and venting (bleeding) the excess through a surge bleed valve in order to reduce pressure in the main air duct. Such systems maintained sufficient output airflow, effectively controlling surge, but were inefficient in operation and wasteful of energy.

The Honeywell APU is designed to be more efficient by avoiding excess air bleeding in its control of surge. To do this it is necessary to determine when and how far to open the surge bleed valve in order to maintain a level of flow sufficient to avoid surge. To reach this end, Honeywell's invention establishes a "set point" that represents the minimum flow at which surge can safely be avoided. In the claimed invention, "[a]mbient air ... is drawn through a set of adjustable inlet guide vanes." '893 patent, col. 3, ll.64-65. The value of the set point is selected "as a function of the position of said inlet guide vanes." Id., col. 12, ll.11-12; see also '194 patent, col. 12, ll.15-16. The set point is compared to a "flow-related parameter" that represents airflow out of the compressor as determined by a sensor. '893 patent, col. 2, ll.47-48; '194 patent, col. 2, ll.48-49. Thus a comparison is made between the actual flow conditions (represented by the flow-related parameter) and the desired flow conditions (represented by the set point). If the system determines that airflow out of the main air duct is too low, the surge bleed valve will be opened to prevent the build up of excess pressure leading to surge.

II

The '893 and '194 patents resulted from a common application filed February 19, 1981. The specification of both patents is identical. Only claims 8, 10, 11, 19 and 23 of the '893 patent and claim 4 of the '194 patent are at issue in this case. Each of these claims requires the APU to include inlet guide vanes and requires the operation of the surge bleed valve to be a function of inlet guide vane position. Claim 8 is representative of the apparatus claimed in the '893 patent:

8. A gas turbine engine accessory power unit having a fluctuating compressed air supply demand, said accessory power unit comprising:

(a) a compressor having adjustable inlet guide vanes;

(b) duct means for receiving compressed air discharged from said compressor and supplying the received air to the pneumatically-powered apparatus;

(c) surge bleed means operable to exhaust from said duct means a selectively variable quantity of air to assure at least a predetermined minimum flow rate through said duct means and thereby prevent surge of said compressor;

(d) sensing means for sensing the value of a predetermined, flow-related parameter within said duct means and generating an output signal indicative of said value, said value of said flow-related parameter being substantially independent of the temperature of the compressed air;

(e) comparator means for receiving said sensing means output signal and generating an error signal representing the difference between the sensed value of said parameter and a desired value thereof, said comparator means having an adjustable control set point representing said desired value of said parameter;

(f) means for transmitting to said comparator means a reset signal for varying said set point as a function of the position of said inlet guide vanes in accordance with a predetermined reset schedule; and

(g) control means for receiving said error signal and transmitting to said surge bleed means a control signal to operate said surge bleed means, the magnitude of said control signal having, relative to the magnitude of said error signal, a proportional component and an integral component, whereby said minimum flow rate though said duct means is essentially constant regardless of the compressed air supply demand of the pneumatically-powered apparatus.

'893 patent, col. 11, l.52 — col. 12, l.23 (emphases added). Claim 4 of the '194 patent claims a method of controlling surge in an APU:

4. A method of utilizing a compressor of a gas turbine engine to power pneumatically-operated apparatus having a variable inlet air flow demand, the compressor having adjustable inlet guide vanes, said method comprising the steps of:

(a) interconnecting a supply duct between the compressor and the pneumatically-operated apparatus;

(b) flowing discharge air from the compressor through said supply duct to the pneumatically-operated apparatus;

(c) maintaining an essentially constant minimum supply duct flow rate, despite fluctuations in the flow rate of air received by the pneumatically-operated apparatus, by exhausting air from said supply duct in response to variations therein of the value of a predetermined, flow-related parameter, the flow rate of air exhausted from said supply duct being related to the magnitude of said parameter value variations in both a proportional and time-integral manner, said maintaining step including the steps of providing an outlet passage from said supply duct, positioning in said outlet passage a surge bleed valve operable to selectively vary the flow of air outwardly though said outlet passage, generating an integral control signal in response to said variation in said flow-related parameter, generating a proportional control signal in response to said variations in said flow-related parameter, and simultaneously utilizing said integral and proportional control signals to operate said surge bleed valve;

(d) adjusting the relationship between the magnitudes of said integral and proportional control signals and the magnitudes of said parameter variations as a function of the position of the inlet guide vanes.

'194 patent, col. 10, l.64 — col. 12, l.16 (emphases added).

III

Sundstrand manufactures an APU device, the APS 3200, which also uses an active...

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