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Regents of the Univ. of Mich. v. Leica Microsystems, Inc.

United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division

April 30, 2020, Decided; April 30, 2020, Filed

Case No. 19-CV-07470-LHK

Opinion

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS

Re: Dkt. No. 17

The Regents of the University of Michigan ("Michigan") bring this action for patent infringement against Leica [*2]  Microsystems Inc. ("Leica"). ECF No. 1 ("Compl."). Michigan alleges that Leica infringes U.S. Patent No. 7,277,169 (the "'169 Patent") either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents. See id. ¶¶ 23-53. Before the Court is Leica's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. ECF No. 17. Having considered the submissions of the parties, the relevant law, and the record in this case, the Court DENIES Leica's motion to dismiss.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

1. The Parties

Michigan is a "constitutional corporation of the State of Michigan" primarily located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Compl. ¶ 2. Michigan is the assignee and sole owner of the '169 Patent. Id. ¶ 9. Leica is a Delaware corporation with its primary place of business in San Francisco, California. Id. ¶ 3.

2. The '169 Patent

The '169 Patent is titled "Whole Spectrum Fluorescence Detection with Ultrafast White Light Excitation." ECF No. 1-1 ("'169 Patent"). The '169 Patent was filed on February 16, 2006 and issued on October 2, 2007. See id.

The '169 Patent relates to "fluorescence measurements and, more particularly, relates to a method and apparatus for detecting multiple fluorophores using an ultrafast super continuum light source for excitation." Id. at col. 1:23-25. Specifically, the '169 Patent describes a novel fluorescence detection [*3]  system that "employ[s] a single laser source to simultaneously excite a plurality of dye molecules and collect the entire spectrum [of light] ranging from visible to near infrared emitted therefrom." Id. at col. 3:25-28. The fluorescence detection system of the '169 Patent features two main components, "a single source white light generation system" and a "time-resolving detector." Id. at col. 7:46-55.

Moreover, the '169 Patent states that it teaches "a unique approach for fluorescence excitation and detection in contrast to conventional fluorescence measurements." Id. at col. 5:53-55. The '169 Patent highlights that "conventional fluorescence" techniques use "a single excitation wavelength, such as a laser source," which can only "excite[] and thus detect[]" a "limited number of fluorophores that have absorption [wavelengths] matched with the excitation wavelength." Id. at col. 2:23-25. In contrast, the '169 Patent teaches the use of "a single laser source" which generates a "white light pulse" that comprises the entire spectrum of visible light and that can "simultaneously excite a plurality of dye molecules and collect the entire spectrum ranging from visible to near infrared emitted therefrom." Id. at col. 3:25-28. Accordingly, [*4]  "[u]nlike prior art systems, the usefulness of the [] teachings [of the '169 Patent] is not dependent upon the use of band pass filters and/or dichroic mirrors and, thus, the present teachings [of the '169 Patent] provide a significantly simplified configuration." Id. at col. 3:28-32.

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2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76578 *; 2020 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 10461

THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, Plaintiff, v. LEICA MICROSYSTEMS INC., Defendant.

CORE TERMS

infringement, patent, excite, supercontinuum, fluorescence, literal, microscopes, fluorophores, pulse, indirect, contributory, wavelengths, induced, invention, spectrum, Reply, emit, plurality, enhanced, laser, quotation, patentee, skill