United States District Court, D. Oregon, Medford Division
OWEN M. PANNER, District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment of. Noninfringement Based on Issue Preclusion (#90). Defendants' Motion is GRANTED.
Plaintiff is an inventor. Among his patents are U.S. Patent Nos. 6, 346, 983 (the '983 patent) and 6, 034, 769 (the '769 patent). The '983 patent covers "[a]n improved method and apparatus for particle counting and measuring." Similarly, the '769 patent covers' "a device for counting and measuring particles."
Defendants are manufacturers of, among other products, particle counters. Plaintiff believes that a number of products manufactured by Defendants violate his patents and, in 2009, he initiated this action.
I. Particle Counters
Particle counters are used to measure the number and size of microscopic particles in air or liquid. Briefly, particle counters work by passing the gas or liquid to be analyzed through a chamber. A light is shone through the chamber and into a light detector. A sensor within the light detector measures the amount of light blocked or reflected. The sensor converts the amount of light received into an electrical signal which is then amplified. The amplified signal is fed into electrical circuitry which processes the signal and determines the number and size of particles detected.
II. The Lockheed Case
Plaintiff has also filed a number of related cases against other defendants. One of the related cases was Yufa v. Lockheed Martin Corp., CV 06-03923 BRO, (C. D. Cal. Dec. 23, 2013) ("the Lockheed Case").
Plaintiff's allegations in the Lockheed Case closely resemble those raised bere:
After reviewing Lockheed's website, Plaintiff became convinced that some of Lockheed's products infringed his '983 and '769 patents. Plaintiff contacted Lockheed, informed them of his allegations and offered to sell or license the patents. Lockheed declined, explaining that they believed their products did not use the technology claimed in Plaintiff's patents. Plaintiff then filed a complaint against Lockheed.
Lockheed initiated a reexamination of Plaintiff's patents in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. During the reexamination process, Plaintiff's patents were amended. Claims 2 and 3 of the '769 patent were cancelled and claims 1, 4, 5, and 6 were amended. As to the '983 patent, claims 1-5 were cancelled and claims 6, 7, and 8 were amended. One common amendment to both patents was the addition of the words "without using a reference voltage."
Following the reexamination, Lockheed moved for summary judgment. The motion was briefed and the court heard oral argument. On December 23, 2013, the Lockheed Court issued an opinion and order granting summary judgment of noninfringement on all the claims and patents at issue ("the Lockheed Decision.").
III. The Lockheed Decision
In its Order granting summary judgment, the Lockheed Court noted two similar terms in all of the claims at issue: 1) the term "converting each amplified signal to a digital signal form pulse without using a reference voltage to convert each said amplified signal" in claims 1, and 4-6 of the '769 patent; and 2) the terms "an analog-digital form pulse duration conversion means, providing conversion of each of said voltage value signals to digital form pulse without using a reference voltage to convert ...