Author Archive | Steve Kontos

PTAB Construes Patent Claim Terms as Subject to §112 ¶6 in IPR

The USPTO’s PTAB held that the term “drive module” was a means-plus-function limitation subject to 35 U.S.C. § 112, sixth paragraph (now 112(f))  in its decision to institute an Inter Partes Review (IPR) in Apple Inc., v. Immersion Corporation, IPR2016-01372 (January 11, 2017). The PTAB (Patent Trial and Appeal Board) raised the §112(6) issue sua […]

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PTAB Indefiniteness Standard Is Different than the Federal Circuit’s

In Telebrands Corp. v. Tinnus Enterprises, LLC, PGR2015-00018 (Dec. 30, 2016), the PTAB found the phrase “substantially filled” indefinite under 35 U.S.C. § 112(b) on post-grant review (PGR). In the course of reaching this conclusion, the PTAB (Patent Trial and Appeal Board) explained that the USPTO uses a different standard than the federal courts to […]

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Post Grant Review and Section 112: A Curious Case

In a case where it strikingly relied on prior art sharing a specification with the patent at issue, the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) invalidated the patent on several grounds, including lack of written description and enablement under 35 U.S.C. § 112. US Endodontics, LLC v. Gold Standard Instruments, LLC, PGR2015-00019 (PTAB December […]

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Federal Circuit Holds Coined Phrases to Be Means-Plus-Function, and Indefinite

In Advanced Ground Information Systems, Inc. v. Life360, Inc., No. 2015-1732 (Fed. Cir. July 28, 2016), the Federal Circuit cautioned against coining verbal nouns and phrases without specifying sufficient structure or algorithms in the patent specification. The court affirmed a finding of indefiniteness of claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,031,728 and 7,672,681, and held the […]

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Computer Modeling Breast Prosthesis Survives 12(b)(6) § 101 Challenge

A court has declined, at least for the moment, to hold patent-ineligible claims directed to making a computer model of a part, in this case, a breast prosthesis.  ContourMed Inc. v. American Breast Care LP, No. 4-15-cv-02769 (TXSD March 17, 2016, Order) (Miller, J.).  Although the claims do recite use of hardware (e.g., a “scanning […]

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Patent Directed to “Data Security System for a Database” Qualifies for Covered Business Method Review at PTAB

In Square Inc v. Protegrity Corp., CBM2014-00182 (March 2, 2016), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) offered some insight as to when patent claims will be subject to covered business method (CBM) review. The patent at issue is US 8,402,281, titled “Data Security System for a Database.” Claim 33 was one of the illustrative […]

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Federal Circuit Vacates PTAB Written Decision in IPR For Inadequate Explanation of Invalidity Holding

In a non-precedential opinion, Cutsforth, Inc. v. MotivePower, Inc., No. 15-1316 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 22, 2015), the Federal Circuit criticized the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) for failing to explain its obviousness rejection of U.S. Patent No. 7,990,018, which is directed to a removable brush holder. The Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the decision back […]

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Some Guidance on Means-Plus-Function Language

Two recent district court opinions provide some guidance for predicting whether claim language will invoke a means-plus-function construction. Invoking means-plus-function isn’t as straight forward as it used to be. It’s well known that claiming “means for” is all but certain to invoke a means-plus-function construction. Things get trickier when that phrase is omitted, however. And […]

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Functionally-Described Structural Recitations in Method Patent Claims Can Be Indefinite

A patent claim’s recitation of a structural feature was held indefinite under 35 U.S.C. § 112 because the court found that that the claim term in question – “processing system” – was indefinite functional language. Thus, the court in Cox Communications v. Sprint Communications, No. 12-487-SLR (D. Del. May 15, 2015) granted partial summary judgment […]

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Claims Directed to Encoding Digital Data Held to Be Patent-Eligible

A summary judgment motion alleging that claims of U.S. Patent No. 5,446,747 do not recite patent-eligible subject matter has been denied in France Telecom S.A. v. Marvell Semiconductor, Inc., No. 12-cv-04967-WHO (ND Cal. April 14, 2014).  The claims at issue were directed to coding and decoding digital data. In resolving § 101 issues following the […]

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