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E.D. Tex.: Definition of Encrypted Digital Information Transmission for Claim Construction Chart

This week, Magistrate Judge Roy S. Payne issued a decision, Personalized Media Communs. v. Apple Inc., No. 2:15-cv-01366-JRG-RSP, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51825 (E.D. Tex. Mar. 19, 2021), granting the Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration of a claim construction chart prepared for the consideration of a jury.

The parties contested the definition of 'encrypted digital information transmission', which PMC argued should mean, "signals sent or passed from one location to another location to convey digital information which is in encrypted form; 'digital information' includes instructions/commands and data.", and Apple said should be defined as, "a transmission from one location to other locations that includes digital information in unintelligible or unusable form." Id. at *2. This is a patent case in which there was a previous Federal Circuit ruling that found that PMC's invention is distinguished from prior art because it used digital programming rather than analog programming. The Federal Circuit defined 'an encrypted digital transmission' as all-digital. The term in question was previously found to be limited to digital information, but not to transmission from one point to multiple points (meaning it could encompass point-to-point transmissions.)

PMC claims that Apple's use of PMC's FairPlay technology to decrypt digital files in QuickTime, iTunes, and AppleTV infringed its patent. Apple's position is that the presence of analog synchronization signals meant there was no infringement.

Judge Payne ordered that the claim construction chart be updated to define 'encrypted digital information transmission' as, "all-digital information that has been encrypted and moved between at least two devices". Id. at *11.


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