from the United States District Court for the District of
Minnesota in No. 0:13-cv-00971-PJS-TNL, Judge Patrick J.
Roger Steinert, Fredrikson & Byron, PA, Minneapolis, MN,
argued for plaintiff-appellant. Also represented by Kurt John
Niederluecke, Nikola Datzov, Grant David Fairbairn, Lora
D. Wilson, Walters Wilson LLP, Redwood City, CA, argued for
defendant-appellee. Also represented by Eric Stephen Walters.
Newman, O'Malley, and Stoll, Circuit Judges.
Software, Inc. appeals from a stipulated judgment of
noninfringement and invalidity following adverse claim
construction and indefiniteness rulings from the United
States District Court for the District of Minnesota. Because
the district court's construction is supported by the
intrinsic evidence, and the claims do not improperly claim
both an apparatus and a method of using the apparatus, we
affirm the court's claim construction, reverse the
court's indefiniteness determination, and remand for
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
sued Microsoft Corporation for infringement of its two
related patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 7, 945, 850 and 8, 429,
518. MasterMine asserted claims 1, 8, 10, and 12 of the
'850 patent and claims 1, 2, and 3 of the '518
patents disclose methods and systems "that allow a
user to easily mine and report data maintained by a customer
relationship management (CRM) application." '850
patent, Abstract. CRM applications "are used to manage
all aspects of customer relations by integrating a
company's sales force, processes, sales channels and
customers into one environment." Id. at col. 1
patents describe a process by which an electronic worksheet
is automatically created. Within this electronic worksheet, a
multi-dimensional analysis table, known as a pivot table,
"allows the user to quickly and easily summarize or
view large amounts of CRM data." Id. at col. 2
ll. 22-24. "For example, the user can rotate the rows
and columns of [a pivot table] to see different summaries of
the CRM data, filter the data by displaying different pages,
or display the details for [an] area of interest."
Id. at col. 2 ll. 24-27. The patents further
describe that a user is able to "analyze the captured
CRM data and 'mine' the data for important
insights" upon generation of the pivot table.
Id. at col. 3 ll. 5-6.
briefing and argument, the district court entered a claim
construction order, construing, inter alia, the term
"pivot table." MasterMine Software, Inc. v.
Microsoft Corp., No. 13-CV-0971, 2016 WL 8292205, at *2
(D. Minn. May 6, 2016) ("Claim Construction
Order"). The district court construed "pivot
table, " the term MasterMine now contests on appeal, to
mean "an interactive set of data displayed in rows and
columns that can be rotated and filtered to summarize or view
the data in different ways." Id.
of the '850 patent is illustrative and reproduced below
in pertinent part:
1. A method comprising:
executing a customer relationship management (CRM) software
application on a computer, wherein the CRM software
application includes customized settings and local field
names, and further wherein the CRM software application
includes a CRM database that stores CRM data;
. . . .
invoking a spreadsheet application from the reporting module
installed within the CRM software application using an
application programming interface (API) of the spreadsheet
application to automatically generate an electronic worksheet
viewable by the spreadsheet software application, wherein the
automatically generating the electronic worksheet comprises
directing the spreadsheet application with the reporting
module installed within the CRM software application to
create a new workbook having the electronic worksheet;
further invoking the spreadsheet application from the
reporting module installed within the CRM software
application using the API to automatically generate a
pivot table within the electronic worksheet according to the
database query, wherein the pivot table contains the CRM data
from the CRM database, and wherein invoking the
spreadsheet application includes communicating report
parameters from the reporting module installed within the CRM
software application to the spreadsheet software application
based on the schema and data structures of the CRM database
and the customized settings including the local field names
within the CRM software application;
presenting the pivot table to a user with the spreadsheet
application in accordance with the report parameters received
from the reporting module installed within the CRM software
. . . .
Id. at col. 7 l. 65 - col. 8 l. 67 (emphasis added).
additionally sought a declaration that claims 8 and 10 of the
'850 patent and claims 1, 2, and 3 of the '518 patent
are invalid for indefiniteness, which the district court
addressed in its claim construction order. Claim
Construction Order, 2016 WL 8292205, at *6-9. The
district court agreed with Microsoft, holding the claims
indefinite for improperly claiming two different
subject-matter classes. Id. at *9. Following the
district court's construction of "pivot table,
" the parties stipulated to final judgments of
noninfringement and invalidity for indefiniteness, with
MasterMine reserving the right to appeal the district
court's claim construction order. Pursuant to the
stipulation, the district court entered final judgment, and
MasterMine now appeals. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
challenges both the district court's claim construction
and its indefiniteness determination. We address these issues
ultimate construction of the claim is a legal question and,
therefore, is reviewed de novo." Info-Hold, Inc. v.
Applied Media Techs. Corp., 783 F.3d 1262, 1265 (Fed.
Cir. 2015). We review a district court's claim
construction based solely on intrinsic evidence de novo,
while we review subsidiary factual findings regarding
extrinsic evidence for clear error. Teva Pharm. USA, Inc.
v. Sandoz, Inc., 135 S.Ct. 831, 841 (2015).
construction seeks to ascribe the "ordinary and
customary meaning" to claim terms as a person of
ordinary skill in the art would have understood them at the
time of invention. Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d
1303, 1312-14 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc) (citing
Vitronics Corp. v. Conceptronic, Inc., 90 F.3d 1576,
1582 (Fed. Cir. 1996)). "[T]he claims themselves provide
substantial guidance as to the meaning of particular claim
terms." Id. at 1314. In addition, "the
person of ordinary skill in the art is deemed to read the
claim term not only in the context of the particular claim in
which the disputed term appears, but in the context of the
entire patent, including the specification."
Id. at 1313. But "[w]hile we read claims in
view of the specification, of which they are a part, we do
not read limitations from the embodiments in the
specification into the claims." Hill-Rom Servs.,
Inc. v. Stryker Corp., 755 F.3d 1367, 1371 (Fed. Cir.
argues that the district court improperly construed the term
"pivot table, " which it proposes should be
construed as a "computer software object [or structure]
defining an interactive table that can show the same data
from a list or a database in more than one arrangement."
Appellant Br. 19 (alteration in original) (quoting J.A.
1338). In other words, MasterMine contends that the district
court's construction is incorrect because it excludes
tables that do not display data. According to MasterMine, its