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Palomar Technologies, Inc. v. MRSI Systems, LLC

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

May 16, 2019

PALOMAR TECHNOLOGIES, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
MRSI SYSTEMS, LLC, Defendant. Term Plaintiff's construction Defendant's construction Claims Term Plaintiff's construction Defendant's construction Term Plaintiff's construction Defendant's construction Term Plaintiff's construction Defendant's construction Term Plaintiff's construction Defendant's construction Term Plaintiff's construction Defendant's construction Term Plaintiff's construction Defendant's construction Term Plaintiff's construction Defendant's construction Term Plaintiff's construction Defendant's construction Term Plaintiff's construction Defendant's construction Term Plaintiff's construction Defendant's construction Term Plaintiff's construction Defendant's construction Term Plaintiff's construction Defendant's construction Term Plaintiff's construction Defendant's construction

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON CLAIM CONSTRUCTION

          F. Dennis Saylor IV United States District Judge

         This is a patent infringement dispute between two companies involved in the production and distribution of “die attach” systems. Plaintiff Palomar Technologies, Inc. has brought suit against defendant MRSI Systems, LLC. The complaint asserts a claim for patent infringement pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 271.[1]

         Palomar is the owner and assignee of U.S. Patent No. 6, 776, 327 (“the '327 patent”), entitled “High-Accuracy Placement Method Using Double Pick and Place.” The case is now at the claim-construction phase.

         The parties have submitted proposals for the construction of 14 terms: (1) “first workpiece, ” (2) “second workpiece, ” (3) “origination location, ” (4) “target intermediate location, ” (5) “intermediate error deviation, ” (6) “target attach location, ” (7) “actual attach location, ” (8) “attach error deviation, ” (9) “displace, ” (10) “place, ” (11) “pick, ” (12) “displace said first workpiece from said actual intermediate location, ” (13) “performing a first place step to displace, ” (14) “performing a second place step to displace.”

         I. Background

         A. Palomar Technologies

         Palomar Technologies, Inc., provides, among other things, “die-attach solutions” and “precision assembly services.” (Compl. ¶ 2). Palomar's systems are used to manufacture “LED, optoelectronic, solar, RF and microelectronic packages in the photonic, wireless, microwave, automotive, aerospace, defense, medical and life science industries.” (Id.).

         B. The '327 Patent

         The '327 patent generally relates to a “method for high accuracy placement of a first workpiece onto a second workpiece for attachment of the two workpieces.” (Id. col. 1 ll. 7-9). More particularly, the patent relates to a “high accuracy [automated] placement method which utilizes double pick and place of the first workpiece to enhance the final placement accuracy of the first workpiece onto the second workpiece.” (Id. col. 1 ll. 9-13).

         According to the patent, in the production of many electronic applications, dies, or tiny semiconductor devices, are attached to circuit bodies. ('327 patent col. 1 ll. 16-24). The process of attaching a die to a circuit body typically involves two steps: first, in the “pick and place” operation, “the die is picked from a remote location by a tool and placed on the circuit body at the location where attachment is desired.” ('327 patent col. 1 ll. 25-28). Next, “the die and circuit body are heated to the melting point of an interposed solder, more specifically termed the die attach material, to form an electrically and thermally conductive die attach connection between the die and the circuit body.” ('327 patent col. 1 ll. 28-32).

         According to the patent, automated die-attach techniques were already known and used, although the conventional techniques were not able to perform pick and place operations in a manner sufficiently accurate for emerging industries, such as the optical communications industry. (Id. col. 1 ll. 33-35, 42-45). The '327 patent distinguishes itself from these earlier techniques by claiming to provide an automated placement method that is “both time efficient and highly accurate.” (Id. col. 1 ll. 49-51).

         The patent's automated placement method involves two steps. Initially, the “first workpiece, which is preferably a die, ” is “positioned at the origination location.” (Id. col. 1 ll. 63-64; Id. col. 2 ll. 8). During the “first place step, ” the first workpiece is “displace[d] . . . from the origination location to an intermediate location different from the origination and attach locations.” (Id. col. 1 ll. 66-67; Id. col. 2 ll. 1-2). Then, during the “second place step, ” the first workpiece is “displace[d] . . . from the intermediate location to the attach location and the first workpiece is attached to the second workpiece at the attach location.” (Id. col. 2 ll. 2-5).

         The patent states that the error rate between the “actual” and “target” “intermediate location” is “preferably between 0 and 5 degrees with respect to a rotational reference axis or between about 0 and 15 microns with respect to linear reference axes.” (Id. col. 2 ll. 30-34). The patent also states that the error rate between the “actual” and “target” attach location is “preferably between about 0 and 2 degrees with respect to a rotational reference axis or between about 0 and 10 microns with respect to linear reference axes.” (Id. col. 2 ll. 50-54).

         C. MRSI Systems, LLC

         MRSI Systems, LLC designs, manufactures, and supplies “fully automated, ultra-high precision die-attach and epoxy dispensing tools, ” including the “MRSI-M3 Assembly Work Cell.” (Compl. ¶ 12).

         The MRSI-M3 Assembly Work Cell is “an automated die bonder” that “utilizes” a technique called the “double-pick and place.” (Id. ¶ 13). Under this technique, a “pick tool” picks a die from a “waffle pack, Gel-Pak, wafer, or tape and reel, ” moves the die to “an intermediate location, ” and places the die “onto a vacuum containing surface.” (Id.). After the pick tool disengages the die, and the system “utilizes pattern recognition to obtain the coordinates of the die, ” the pick tool reengages the die and moves the die to a location on a circuit body. (Id.). This method, Palomar contends, infringes on its '327 patent. (Id. ¶ 15).

         D. Representative Claims

         Representative claims of the '327 patent are as follows:

         Claim 1:

         A method for placement of a first workpiece onto a second workpiece comprising the steps of:

a) providing a first workpiece positioned at an origination location different from a target intermediate location;
b) providing a second workpiece positioned at a work location and having a target attach location different from said target intermediate location and said origination location;
c) performing a first place step to displace said first workpiece from said origination location to an actual intermediate location, wherein said actual intermediate location is different from said origination location and is identical to said target intermediate location or differs from said target intermediate location by an intermediate error deviation; and
d) performing a second place step to displace said first workpiece from said actual intermediate location to an actual attach location on said second workpiece, wherein said actual attach location is different from said origination location and said target intermediate location and is identical to said target attach location or differs from said target attach location by an attach error deviation.

'327 patent col. 13 ll. 14-37 (emphasis added).

         Claim 2:

The method of claim 1 further comprising attaching said first workpiece to said actual attach location.

'327 patent col. 13 ll. 38-39 (emphasis added).

         Claim 3:

The method of claim 1 wherein said first workpiece is displaced from said actual intermediate location to said actual attach location with reference to a second place path determined by referencing said target attach location.

'327 patent col. 13 ll. 40-43 (emphasis added).

         Claim 4:

The method of claim 1 wherein said first workpiece is displaced from said origination location to said actual intermediate location with reference to a first place path determined by referencing said target intermediate location.

'327 patent col. 13 ll. 44-47 (emphasis added).

         Claim 5:

The method of claim 1 further comprising performing a first pick step, in advance of said first place step wherein a pickup tool engages said first workpiece at said origination location.

'327 patent col. 13 ll. 48-51 (emphasis added).

         Claim 6:

The method of claim 5 wherein said first workpiece is displaced in said first place step by displacement of said pickup tool engaging said first workpiece.

'327 patent col. 13 ll. 52-54 (emphasis added).

         Claim 7:

The method of claim 5 further comprising disengaging said pickup tool from said first workpiece at said actual intermediate location.

'327 patent col. 13 ll. 55-57 (emphasis added).

         Claim 8:

The method of claim 1 further comprising performing a second pick step, in advance of said second place step wherein a pickup tool engages said first workpiece at said actual intermediate location.

'327 patent col. 13 ll. 58-61 (emphasis added).

         Claim 9:

The method of claim 8 wherein said first workpiece is displaced in said second place step by displacement of said pickup tool engaging said first workpiece.

'327 patent col. 13 ll. 62-64 (emphasis added).

         Claim 17:

The placement method of claim 1 wherein said first workpiece is a die. '327 patent col. 14 ll. 24-25 (emphasis added).

         Claim 18:

The placement method of claim 1 wherein said second workpiece is a circuit body.

'327 patent col. 14 ll. 26-27 (emphasis added).

         Claim 24:

A method for placement of a first workpiece onto a second workpiece comprising the steps of:
a) providing a first workpiece positioned at an origination location different from a target ...

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