Monday, November 25, 2013

Split decision at CAFC in Centillion v. Qwest

The outcome of Centillion v. Qwest:

Centillion Data Systems, LLC (Centillion) appeals from the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Qwest Communications International, Inc. (Qwest) that various claims of U.S. Patent No. 5,287,270 (’270 patent) are not infringed. Centillion also challenges the award of costs to Qwest. Because the district court erred in con- cluding that there is no genuine factual dispute regarding infringement by one of the two accused products, but did not err with respect to the other product, we affirm-in- part and reverse-in-part the judgment of noninfringement, vacate the award of costs, and remand for further proceedings.

Of Centillion's win:

We agree with Centillion that there is a genuine factual dispute whether .TXT files meet the limitation at issue. Evidence in the record suggests that .TXT files may be in a format that allows them to be displayed on a PC. See J.A. 3512.

Qwest’s assertion that the claims require creation of database tables is incorrect. There is no language in the claims that requires creation of database tables. The claims require only that the data processing means gen- erate the preprocessed summary reports and organize them into a format for storage, manipulation, and display. The district court’s construction, quite properly, does not require that database tables be generated.

As to judicial admission:

We agree that Centillion did not concede that customers who use third-party software do not infringe. A statement during an argument made to a court consti- tutes a conclusive “judicial admission” only if the conces- sion is “clear, deliberate, and unambiguous.” United States v. Cunningham, 405 F.3d 497, 504 (7th Cir. 2005); see also Keller v. United States, 58 F.3d 1194, 1199 n.8 (7th Cir. 1995). Centillion’s statements regarding third- party software in the previous appeal do not meet the Seventh Circuit’s standard for a judicial admission. Centillion made its statements in the context of its argu- ment that Qwest “uses” the accused systems. J.A. 4315. Because Centillion’s arguments were not directed to customer infringement, Centillion could not have deliber- ately conceded that the customers must use Qwest’s application software to infringe.


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