United States District Court, N.D. New York
DOUGLAS J. NASH, ESQ., JOHN D. COOK, ESQ., JASON C. HALPIN, ESQ., Hiscock, Barclay Law Firm, Syrause Office, Syracuse, NY, for the Plaintiff.
DAVID M. LASCELL, ESQ., JERAULD E. BRYDGES, ESQ., Harter, Secrest Law Firm, Rochester Office, Rochester, NY, For the Defendant.
JOSEPH P. LAVELLE, ESQ., ANDREW N. STEIN, ESQ., DLA Piper LLP, DC Office, Washington, DC.
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
GARY L. SHARPE, Chief District Judge.
Plaintiff PPC Broadband, Inc., doing business as PPC, commenced this action against defendant Corning Optical Communications RF, LLC,  for alleged infringement of four of PPC's coaxial cable connector patents. ( See generally Am. Compl., Dkt. No. 24.) Following the parties' request for the construction of twelve disputed terms in the four patents in suit, the court referred the matter to Magistrate Judge David E. Peebles for a Markman  hearing. (Dkt. Nos. 37, 41, 42, 57, 58, 62.) In a Report and Recommendation (R&R) filed December 5, 2013, Judge Peebles recommended constructions for eight of the disputed terms, and, with respect to the remaining four, found that no construction was necessary. (Dkt. No. 64.) Pending are Corning's objections to the R&R. (Dkt. No. 96.) Also pending is a motion by nonparty Times Fiber Communications, Inc., seeking to intervene in this action, for the limited purpose of objecting to the claim construction recommended in the R&R. (Dkt. No. 67.) On March 14, 2014, Judge Peebles recommended, in a second R&R, that the motion to intervene be denied in all respects. (Dkt. No. 91.) No party has filed objections to that R&R. Largely for the reasons articulated by Judge Peebles, and for the reasons that follow, all of Judge Peebles' recommendations are adopted in their entirety.
II. Standard of Review
Before entering final judgment, this court reviews report and recommendation orders in cases it has referred to a magistrate judge. If a party properly objects to a specific element of the magistrate judge's findings and recommendations, this court reviews those findings and recommendations de novo. See Almonte v. N.Y. State Div. of Parole, No. Civ. 904CV484GLS, 2006 WL 149049, at *3, *5 (N.D.N.Y. Jan. 18, 2006). In those cases where no party has filed an objection, only vague or general objections are made, or a party resubmits the same papers and arguments already considered by the magistrate judge, this court reviews the findings and recommendations of the magistrate judge for clear error. See id. at *4-5.
Although there were twelve disputed terms at issue in the R&R,
Corning's objections relate only to the proposed construction of four of the terms: "connector body"; "a post, engageable with the connector body"; "positioned along the post"; and "conductive coating." (Dkt. No. 96 at 9-22.) In response to Corning's objections, PPC argues that Judge Peebles' recommendations were appropriate and should be adopted by this court. (Dkt. No. 97 at 8-25.) The court will address each of the terms, and the respective recommended constructions to which Corning has objected, below.
A. Connector Body
Judge Peebles recommended that the term "connector body" be given the construction: "structure of the connector that is secured to the post at one end and includes an open end for receiving a portion of the coaxial cable. This structure can be comprised of more than one piece, and is therefore not limited to a single integral or unitary one-piece component." (Dkt. No. 64 at 33-36.) Corning objects primarily to the second sentence of that construction, arguing that the recommended construction is improper and that the court should strike the last sentence of the construction. (Dkt. No. 96 at 9-15.)
When faced with "an actual dispute regarding the proper scope" of a patent claim, the court must construe the allegedly infringed claim to determine its meaning and scope. O2 Micro Int'l Ltd. v. Beyond Innovation Tech. Co., Ltd., 521 F.3d 1351, 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2008). In so doing, the court is cognizant that unless the patentee "acts as his own lexicographer" or "disavows the full scope of a claim term either in the specification or during prosecution, " the words of a claim are "given their plain and ordinary meaning [as understood by] one of skill in the art." See Thorner v. Sony Computer Entm't Am. LLC, 669 F.3d 1362, 1365-67 (Fed. Cir. 2012). When "the meaning of a claim term as ...