Esto se ha convertido ya en un intríngulis de leguleyos…pero ahí va la noticia… que el juez ya ha tratado 35 de las 44 demandas….
Markman Decision Announced Aug 4, 2007 3:26 PM
Late Friday, August 3, we received the Memorandum Opinion Construing Claim Terms of the United States Patent No. 6,988,138 from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Magistrate Judge Hines). In addition, we received an Order on Agreed Terms. Both of these documents, in full, can be found on our files page. The Memorandum Opinion is subject to a procedural appeal.
The Memorandum Opinion is the “Markman” decision, and results from the briefs previously filed, as well as the hearing in Texas on July 18 before Judge Hines.
The importance of any Markman decision is twofold. First, it provides the definitions for terms that are in dispute between the parties. The definitions provided by the Court must be used at trial – the parties typcially cannot re-litigate the definitions before trial. Second, it reviews the claims of the patent in light of certain challenges from the opposing party, and the result of that review may be fatal to certain patent claims.
In our case, and subject, of course, to a procedural appeal, the Markman decision is important for both purposes. The more significant, immediate result is that the Court found the “Means for assigning a level of access to and control of each data file based on a user of the system’s predetermined role in a course,” a “means-plus-function” term, to be indefinite. See pages 16-17 of the Memorandum Opinion. Because that phrase is indefinite, all of Claim 1 is rendered invalid because of indefiniteness. Further, all dependent claims that rely on Claim 1 (in our case, Claims 2 through 35) are similarly invalid.
In addition, the Court construed the term “With each user being capable of having predefined characteristics indicative of multiple predetermined roles in the system” to mean “discrete roles and their associated characteristics to which a user can be multiply assigned are set in advance within the system,” a definition more in line with our position than Blackboard’s. See pages 6-11 of the Memorandum Opinion.
The Markman decision is an important one, and one that we are still studying.
But it’s fair to say that, at this stage, we’re pleased.(leer más…)