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NCube Corp. v. SeaChange Int’l, Inc.January 10, 2006

The Federal Circuit, in nCube Corporation v. SeaChange International, Inc., affirms the trial court’s denial of Judgement as a Matter of Law (JMOL) on literal infringement and willfulness, its award of enhanced damages and attorney fees, its grant of JMOL on the jury verdict of infringement under the doctrine of equivalents, and its denial of SeaChange’s motion for a new trial.The patent at issue is directed to a method and apparatus for providing multimedia data in a networked system by allowing a client flexible access to various multimedia sources over a network. The finding of infringement by the trial court first addressed the construction of claim 1 of the patent; particularly, the interpretation of the terms governing operation of an ‘upstream manager’ and use of addresses in the invention. SeaChange sought to limit the invention to messages routed using only logical addresses, not physical addresses, arguing that the patentee clearly demonstrated this limitation in its specification, even though absent in claim 1 of the patent. The trial court found, contrary to SeaChange’s arguments that even though the specification described an embodiment inclusive of the use of logical addresses, claim 1 was broader. It was in dependent claim 2 that the creation of a ‘further’ function of the virtual connection appeared, and the use of logical addresses first appeared specifically only in claim 4. Thus, the trial court held that reading the requirement of using only logical addresses into claim 1 would impermissibly read the virtual connection limitation of claim 2 into claim 1, making the claims redundant. The Federal Circuit affirmed the trial court’s finding as to claim construction.The Federal Circuit affirmed, as well, the trial court’s finding of: 1) willful infringement noting that substantial evidence was presented to the jury that SeaChange manipulated information given to its counsel to ensure an opinion of non-infringement; 2) SeaChange induced infringement by selling systems for use with other equipment with the intent that customers would use the systems to perform the patented method; and 3) the award of enhanced damages based on the finding of willfulness and the Read factors, and the trial court’s broad discretion in awarding attorney fees. See Read Corp. v. Portec, Inc., 970 F.2d 816 (Fed. Cir. 1992).The opinion contains a dissent by Judge Dyk of the majority’s opinion upholding the verdict of infringement.To read the full text of the decision, log on to

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