Samsung had asked the court to interpret two disputed terms: one each from the “overscroll bounce” ‘381 patent (yesterday I attended a Munich trial over that patent) and the “tap to zoom and navigate” ‘163 patent. Apple asserts claim 19 of the “overscroll bounce” (or “rubber-banding”) patent. Samsung asked for construction of the term “electronic document” and proposed to define the term as “content having a defined set of boundaries that can be visually represented on a screen”. Apple argued that no construction is necessary (the plain and ordinary meaning of the term would do) but thought that it might be helpful to the jury to explain that an “electronic document” for the purposes of this patent is “a document stored in a digital format; for example, an ‘electronic document’ could be a web page, a digital image, a word processing, spreadsheet or presentation document, or a list of items in a digital format”.
The examples on Apple’s list aren’t arbitrary: they are found in dependent claims 6 through 8. And Apple pointed to dictionary definitions that support its claim that an electronic document is “stored in a digital format”. All of this persuaded Judge Koh to construe the term as “a document stored in a digital format. An ‘electronic document’ includes, but is not limited to, a web page; a digital image; a word processing, spreadsheet or presentation document; or a list of items in a digital format”. This is essentially Apple’s definition.
The claim construction order notes that what Apple wants “electronic document” to mean “may fit within Samsung’s proposed construction”, but on the bottom line, Judge Koh didn’t consider Samsung’s proposal to be useful to the jury. The undefined term “boundary” makes Samsung’s definition harder to understand (she rejected the term in aprevious claim construction order relating to this patent), and the lack of clarity resulting from the words “can be” in front of “visually represented on a screen” wasn’t to Judge Koh’s liking either. She felt that this would “not guide the jury in determining whether something is an electronic document”. That makes sense to me, and it’s consistent with Samsung’s proposed jury instructions that serve to obfuscate, not clarify, the issues.
Mueller reports, “Anything can happen in a jury trial, but the way the court interprets the patents has a lot of impact on the parties’ chances. Samsung alreadylost the main claim construction battle in this same lawsuit in April. Now its request for additional claim construction hasn’t succeeded either. With respect to the ‘381 patent, it’s even resulted in a significant improvement in Apple’s favor.”
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