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United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
June 16, 2015, Decided
[*1343] [***1106] Linn, Circuit Judge.
Richard A. Williamson ("Williamson"), as trustee for the At Home Corporation Bondholders' Liquidating Trust, owns U.S. Patent No. 6,155,840 (the "'840 patent") and appeals from the stipulated final judgment in favor of defendants Citrix Online, LLC; Citrix Systems, Inc.; Microsoft Corporation; Adobe Systems, Inc.; Webex Communications, Inc.; Cisco Webex, LLC; Cisco Systems, Inc.; and International Business Machines Corporation (collectively, "Appellees"). Because the district court erroneously construed the limitations "graphical [**3] display representative of a classroom" and "first graphical display comprising . . . a classroom region," we vacate the judgment of non-infringement of claims 1-7 and 17-24 of the '840 patent. Because the district court correctly construed the limitation "distributed learning control module," we affirm the judgment of invalidity of claims 8-12 of the '840 patent under 35 U.S.C. § 1122, para. 2. Accordingly, we remand.
[***1107] I. Background
A. The '840 Patent
The '840 patent describes methods and systems for "distributed learning" that utilize industry standard computer hardware and software linked by a network to provide a classroom or auditorium-like metaphor—i.e., a "virtual classroom" environment. The objective is to connect one or more presenters with geographically remote audience members. '840 patent col.2 ll.10-14. The disclosed inventions purport to provide "the benefits of classroom interaction without the detrimental effects of complicated hardware or software, or the costs and inconvenience of convening in a separate [**4] place." Id. at col.2 ll.4-7.
There are three main components of the "distributed learning" system set forth in the '840 patent: (1) a presenter computer, (2) audience member computers, and (3) a distributed learning server. The distributed learning server implements a "virtual classroom" over a computer network, such as the Internet, to facilitate communication and interaction among the presenter and audience members. The presenter computer is used by the presenter to communicate with the audience members and control information that appears on the audience member's computer screen. Id. at col.4 l.66-col.5 l.2. An audience member's computer is used to display the presentation and can be used to communicate [*1344] with the presenter and other audience members. Id. at col.5 ll.11-14.
The '840 patent includes the following three independent claims, with disputed terms highlighted:
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
792 F.3d 1339 *; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 10082 **; 115 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1105 ***; 2015 WL 3697550
RICHARD A. WILLIAMSON, Trustee for At Home Bondholders Liquidating Trust, Plaintiff-Appellant v. CITRIX ONLINE, LLC, CITRIX SYSTEMS, INC., MICROSOFT CORPORATION, ADOBE SYSTEMS, INC., Defendants-Appellees;WEBEX COMMUNICATIONS, INC., CISCO WEBEX, LLC, CISCO SYSTEMS, INC., Defendants-Appellees INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION, Defendant-Appellee
Subsequent History: Summary judgment granted by Williamson v. Citrix Online, LLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76083 (C.D. Cal., Feb. 17, 2016)
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California in No. 11-CV-2409, Judge A. Howard Matz.
Williamson v. Citrix Online, LLC, 770 F.3d 1371, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 21115 (Fed. Cir., 2014)
Disposition: AFFIRMED-IN-PART, VACATED-IN-PART, AND REMANDED.
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