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Fujitsu Ltd. v. Netgear Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

September 20, 2010, Decided

2010-1045

Opinion

 [***1745]  [*1324]   MOORE, Circuit Judge.

U.S. Philips  [**2] Corporation (Philips), Fujitsu Limited (Fujitsu), and LG Electronics, Inc. (LG) appeal from a final judgment of  [*1325]  the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. The district court, on summary judgment, held that the Defendant, Netgear Inc. (Netgear) did not infringe any of the asserted claims. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm-in-part, reverse-in-part, and remand.

BACKGROUND

Each appellant in this case asserted claims against Netgear. Philips asserted claims of U.S. patent no. 4,974,952 ('952 patent). Fujitsu asserted claims from U.S. patent no. 6,018,642 ('642 patent). LG asserted claims of U.S. patent no. 6,469,993 ('993 patent). Each patent describes and claims a different aspect of wireless communications technologies. The appellants accused Netgear of infringing by implementing wireless networking protocols for sending and receiving messages between a base station, such as a wireless router, and a mobile station, such as a laptop. Products in this industry adhere to standards to ensure interoperability. The infringement allegations in this case involve two standards: the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers 802.11 2007 Standard (802.11 Standard)  [**3] and the Wi-Fi Alliance Wireless Multi-Media Specification, Version 1.1 (WMM Specification).

The three plaintiffs are part of a licensing pool (Via Licensing) that purports to include patents that any manufacturer of 802.11 and WMM compliant products must license. On June 15, 2005, Via Licensing sent a letter to Netgear offering to license a set of patents "essential" to the practice of the standard. Of the patents-in-suit, this letter mentioned only the '952 patent and expressly stated that it was not claiming infringement. The appellants never identified particular claims or accused products prior to filing the instant action.

After the district court construed the claims, the plaintiffs filed a first summary judgment motion. In this motion, the plaintiffs argued that by simply complying with the standard, Netgear necessarily infringed the asserted claims. The court denied this motion holding that the plaintiffs must show evidence of infringement for each accused product. Fujitsu Ltd. v. Netgear, Inc., No. 07-CV-0710, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 739, 2009 WL 36616, at *1 (W.D. Wis. Jan. 6, 2009) (First Noninfringement Order). The district court denied the plaintiffs' subsequent motions for summary judgment of infringement  [**4] and granted Netgear's cross motion for summary judgment of noninfringement for a number of reasons related to the specific patents and products at issue. Fujitsu Ltd. v. Netgear, Inc., No. 07-CV-0710, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85802, 2009 WL 3047616, at *1  [***1746]  (W.D. Wis. Sept. 18, 2009) (Second Noninfringement Order).

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620 F.3d 1321 *; 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 19543 **; 96 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1742 ***

FUJITSU LIMITED, Plaintiff-Appellant, and LG ELECTRONICS, INC. AND U.S. PHILIPS CORPORATION, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. NETGEAR INC., Defendant-Appellee.

Subsequent History: As Corrected September 21, 2010.

Rehearing denied by Fujitsu Ltd. v. Netgear, Inc., 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 26722 (Fed. Cir., Nov. 1, 2010)

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin in case No. 07-CV-0710, Chief Judge Barbara B. Crabb.

Fujitsu Ltd. v. Netgear, Inc., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131596 (W.D. Wis., Dec. 30, 2009)Fujitsu Ltd. v. Netgear, Inc., 576 F. Supp. 2d 964, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68891 (W.D. Wis., 2008)Fujitsu Ltd. v. Netgear, Inc., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85802 (W.D. Wis., Sept. 18, 2009)

Disposition: AFFIRMED-IN-PART, REVERSED-IN-PART, and REMANDED.

CORE TERMS

infringement, argues, station, district court, mobile, products, patent, message, terminal, beacon, fragmentation, signal, noninfringement, Specification, summary judgment, power-on, induced, contributory, asserted claim, genuine issue of material fact, same time, synchronously, transmitted, invention, intermittent, notice, fixed period, receive-ready, Licensing, Window

Civil Procedure, Appeals, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, General Overview, Patent Law, Infringement Actions, Claim Interpretation, Construction Preferences, Jurisdiction & Review, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Business & Corporate Compliance, Infringing Acts, Indirect Infringement, Burdens of Proof, Remedies, Damages, Measure of Damages