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JANES v. BOSE CORPORATION

May 6, 2004.

T. ANDREW JANES, Plaintiff, V. BOSE CORPORATION, Defendant


The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT GETTLEMAN, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff T. Andrew Janes initiated the instant lawsuit against defendant Bose Corporation, alleging that defendant's "3-2-1 Home Entertainment System" infringes plaintiffs patent. Defendant has moved for summary judgment of non-infringement pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). For the reasons stated herein, defendant's motion is denied.

FACTS

  Plaintiff is the named inventor of U.S. Patent No. 5,557,680 (the `"680 patent"), entitled, "Loudspeaker System for Producing Multiple Sound Images Within a Listening Area from Dual Source Locations."*fn1 Claim 1 of the `680 patent provides:
1. A loudspeaker system for producing, in a listening area, realistic sound images from an audio signal generator with a multiplicity of audio signal channels, the system comprising:
two spaced-apart sound cabinets for housing speaker drivers;
a first speaker driver mounted in a first of the defined cabinets and having an axis directed toward the listening area, the first driver configured for being coupled to a first channel signal of said audio signal generator and operable for receiving said first channel signal and creating a first channel sound image forward of the cabinet and into the listening area;
a second speaker driver mounted in a second of the cabinets and having an axis directed toward the listening area, the second driver configured for being coupled to a second channel signal of said audio signal generator and operable for receiving said second channel signal and creating a second channel sound image forward of the cabinet and into the listening area;
a third speaker driver mounted in said first cabinet and physically spaced from said first driver, the third driver having an axis oriented toward the listening area and at an angle to said first driver axis, the third driver configured for being coupled to a signal having frequency components of a third channel from said audio signal generator for receiving said signal and directing sound with third channel components into the listening area at an angle to the first channel sound image;
a fourth speaker driver mounted in said second cabinet and spaced from said second driver, the fourth driver having an axis oriented toward the listening area and at an angle to said second driver axis, the fourth driver configured for being coupled to a signal having components of a third channel for receiving said signal and directing sound with third channel components into the listening area at an angle to the second channel sound image;
when the first and second cabinets are adjacent to one another with the axis of the first and second devices facing forward to the listening area and the axes of the third and fourth drivers directed inwardly to a location in the listening area between the first and second cabinets, the third and fourth drivers being operable for creating, in the listening area location between the first and second channel sound images, a focused sound image having components of a third channel to provide a listener in the listening area with at least three sound images generated from two sound cabinet locations to create a more realistic sound presentation for the listener. Claim 9 provides:
9. An acoustic system for producing, in a listening area, realistic sound images from multiple channels, the system comprising:
an audio signal generator operable for generating at least first, second and third channel signals;
two spaced-apart sound cabinets for housing speaker drivers;
a first speaker driver mounted in a first of the cabinets and having an axis directed toward the listening area, the first driver electrically coupled to said audio signal generator for receiving said first channel signal, the first driver operable for creating a first channel sound image forward of the cabinet into the listening area;
a second speaker driver mounted in a second of the cabinets and having an axis directed toward the listening area, the second driver electrically coupled to said audio signal generator for receiving said second channel signal, the second driver operable for creating a second channel sound image forward of the cabinet into the listening area;
a third speaker driver mounted in said first cabinet and physically spaced from said first driver, the third driver having an axis oriented toward the listening area and at an angle to said first driver axis, the third driver electrically coupled to said audio signal generator for receiving a signal having components of a third channel, the third driver operable for directing sound with third channel components into the listening area at an angle to the first channel sound image;
a fourth speaker driver mounted in said second cabinet and spaced from said second driver, the fourth driver having an axis oriented toward the listening area and at an angle to said second driver axis, the fourth driver electrically coupled to said audio signal generator for receiving a signal having components of a third channel, the fourth driver operable for directing sound with third channel components at an angle to the second channel sound image;
when the first and second cabinets are adjacent to one another with the axis of the first and second drivers facing the listening area and the axes of the third and fourth drivers directed inwardly to a location in the listening area between the first and second cabinets, the third and fourth drivers being operable for creating, in the listening area location between the first and second channel sound images, a focused sound image having components of a third channel to provide a listener in the listening area with at least three sound images generated from two sound cabinet locations to create a more realistic sound presentation for the listener.
Claim 15 reads:
15. A method for producing realistic sound images from an audio signal generator with a multiplicity of audio signal channels, the method comprising:
positioning a first speaker driver to be oriented generally toward a predetermined area;
coupling the first driver to a first channel signal of said audio signal generator, the first driver operable for receiving said first channel signal and creating a first channel sound image in the area forward of the first driver;
positioning a second speaker driver at a location spaced from the first speaker driver to also be oriented generally toward said predetermined area;
coupling the second driver to a second channel signal of said audio signal generator, the second driver operable for receiving said second channel signal and creating a second channel sound image in the area forward of the second driver;
positioning a third speaker driver proximate to said first driver and oriented generally toward the area at an angle to said first driver;
coupling the third driver to a signal having components of a third channel from said audio signal generator, the third driver operable for receiving said signal and creating sound with third channel components in the area at an angle to the first channel sound image;
positioning a fourth speaker driver proximate to said second driver and oriented generally toward the area at an angle to said second driver; coupling the fourth driver to a signal also having components of said third channel from said audio signal generator, the fourth driver operable for receiving said signal and creating sound with third channel components at an angle to the second channel sound image;
placing the drivers adjacent to one another with the first and second drivers generally oriented to produce adjacent sound images in the area and the third and fourth drivers directed inwardly of the direction of the first and second drivers such that the third and fourth drivers collectively present a focused sound image having components of said third channel in the area and between the first and second channel sound images to provide a listener with at least three sound images generated from generally two locations whereby a more realistic sound presentation is created for the listener.
Claim 23 recites:
23, A loudspeaker system for producing realistic sound images from an audio signal generator with a multiplicity of audio signal channels, the system comprising:
a first speaker driver mounted in a sound cabinet, the first driver configured for being coupled to a first channel signal of said audio signal generator and operable for receiving said first channel signal and creating a first channel sound image, the first speaker driver directing said first channel sound image into an area forward of the driver;
a second speaker driver mounted in a second sound cabinet, the second driver configured for being coupled to a second channel signal of said audio signal generator and operable for receiving said second channel signal and creating a second channel sound image, the second speaker driver directing said second channel sound image into an area forward of the driver;
a third speaker driver mounted in said first cabinet and physically spaced from said first driver, the third driver being oriented at an angle to said first driver and configured for being coupled to a signal having components of a third channel from said audio signal generator, the third driver operable for receiving said signal and directing sound with third channel components forward of the driver at an angle to the first channel sound image; a fourth speaker driver mounted in said second cabinet and physically spaced from said second driver, the fourth driver being oriented at an angle to said second driver, and configured for being coupled to a signal also having components of a third channel from said audio signal generator, the fourth driver operable for receiving said signal and directing sound with third channel components forward of the driver at an angle to the second channel sound image;
when the first and second cabinets are adjacent to one another with the first and second drivers generally oriented to produce first and second channel sound images generally adjacent to one another, the third and fourth drivers being directed at an angle inwardly of the direction of the first and second drivers and being operable for collectively creating, between the first and second channel sound images, a focused sound image having components of said third channel to provide a listener with at least three channel sound images generated from two sound cabinet locations to create a more realistic sound presentation for the listener.
  In 2001, defendant introduced the 3-2-1 Home Entertainment System, which plaintiff maintains infringes the `680 patent. Defendant has moved for summary judgment of non-infringement, arguing that, under defendant's proposed claim construction, the 3-2-1 Home Entertainment System does not infringe the `680 patent.*fn2 After reviewing the parties' written submissions and hearing oral argument on the instant motion, the court denies defendant's motion for the reasons set forth below.

  SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

  A movant is entitled to summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with any affidavits, show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett. 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Unterreiner v. Volkswagen of America. Inc., 8 F.3d 1206, 1209 (7th Cir. 1993). Once a moving party has met its burden, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and set forth specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial. See Fed.R. Civ, P. 56(e); Becker v. Tenenbaum-Hill Assoc. Inc., 914 F.2d 107, 110 (7th Cir. 1990). The nonmoving party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd, v. Zenith Radio Corp.. 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). "The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [nonmoving party's] position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the [nonmoving party]." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby. Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986).

  DISCUSSION

  A patent infringement analysis involves two steps. First, the court determines the scope of the claims is determined as a matter of law. Teleflex. Inc. v. Ficosa North America Corp.. 299 F.3d 1313, 1323 (Fed. Cir. 2002). Second, the properly construed claims are compared to the allegedly infringing device to determine, as a matter of fact, whether all of the limitations of at least one claim are present, either literally or by a substantial equivalent, in the accused device. Id.

 A. Claim Construction

  In the absence of an express intent to impart a novel meaning to claim terms, the words used in a claim are deemed to have their ordinary and customary meaning as understood by one of ordinary skill in the art. Id.. at 1325; Anchor Wall Systems, Inc. v. Rockwood Retaining Walls. Inc., 340 F.3d 1298, 1306 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (citing Toro Co. v. White Consol. Indus., 199 F.3d 1295, 1299 (Fed. Cir. 1999)). In ascertaining the ordinary meaning of words, the court may consult a variety of sources, including the claims themselves, intrinsic evidence such as the written description and prosecution history, and dictionaries and treatises. Teleflex, 299 F.3d at 1325 (citations omitted).

  The presumption in favor of ordinary meaning may be overcome, however, where the patentee chooses to be his or her own lexicographer by clearly setting forth a definition for a claim term in the specification. Anchor Wall Systems, Inc., 340 F.3d at 1306 (citation omitted). A patentee may also demonstrate an intent to deviate from the ordinary meaning by including in the specification "expressions of manifest exclusion or restriction, representing a clear disavowal of claim scope." Teleflex, 299 F.3d at 1325. Similarly, if the ordinary and customary meaning of the words in the claims lacks sufficient clarity to permit the scope of the claim to be ascertained from the words alone, the specification may be useful in resolving such ambiguity. Id.

  The Federal Circuit has recognized that there may be "a fine line between reading a claim in light of the specification, and reading a limitation into the claim from the specification." Anchor Wall Systems, Inc., 340 F.3d at 1307 (quoting Comark Communications. Inc. v. Harris Corp., 156 F.3d 1182, 1186 (Fed. Cir. 1998)). With these standards in mind, the court turns to the claim language at issue in the instant dispute.

 1. Claims 1 and 9: construing "toward"

  Claims 1 and 9 speak of a first and second speaker driver, each of which is mounted in a sound cabinet and has an axis "directed toward the listening area" (emphasis added). Defendant urges the court to construe "toward" as "generally perpendicular to the front plane collectively defined by the sound cabinets to project sound into the listening area." Plaintiff maintains that "toward" should be interpreted as "in ...


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