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Does a “Plurality A, B, and C” Require More than One A, More than one B, and More than One C?: An Interpretation of Disjunctive and Conjunctive Phrases

SIMO Holdings v. Hong Kong uCloudlink Network (Fed. Cir., Jan. 5, 2021) is a precedential opinion that touches on an interesting claim interpretation topic regarding disjunctive and conjunctive phrases.  Independent claim 8 is at issue: 8. A wireless communication client or extension unit comprising a plurality of memory, processors, programs, communication circuitry, authentication data stored on a subscribed identify module (SIM) card and/or in memory and non-local calls database, at least one of the plurality of programs stored in the memory comprises instructions executable by at least one of the plurality of processors for: enabling an initial setting of the wireless communication client or the extension unit and a remote administration system; establishing a data communication link to transmit information among the wireless communication client or the extension unit, and the remote administration system; establishing a local authentication information request in response to a local authentication request by a local…

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Adjectives in Claim Construction

Comcast Cable Communications v. Promptu Systems Corporation (Fed. Cir., Jan. 4, 2021) is a nonprecedential opinion but nevertheless still provides an example of claim construction based on a modifying adjective.  The Appellant appealed the IPR final-written decision in which the PTAB held Appellant failed to prove that the challenged claims of US7,260,538 would have been obvious.  The claim term “command function” was at issue.  Claim 1 is representative: 1.  A method for providing voice recognition processing at a cable television head-end unit for a plurality of voice controlled television cable set-top boxes in a cable television network, comprising the steps of: a television remote control receiving user-activated indication of a voice command; receiving said voice command through a microphone associated with said television remote control; said television remote control wirelessly transmitting a signal representing said voice command to a cable set-top box; said cable set-top box transmitting a signal representing…

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Another Example of Claim Differentiation

Claim differentiation was one factor that led the Federal Circuit to affirm the PTAB’s claim construction in the appealed IPR in Realtime Data, LLC v. Iancu (Fed. Cir., Appeal No. 2018-1154, decided Jan. 10, 2018).  This case also involves an interesting issue regarding obviousness and motivation to combine, and Dennis Crouch has summarized that issue on his blog at PatentlyO.com.  This quick post below focuses on the claim construction of the phrase “maintaining a dictionary.” By way of background, the opinion notes that “dictionary encoding is a form of lossless data compression that assigns a code word to a particular data string, maps that code word to an index, and replaces every matching data string with the corresponding code word…This assignment would be mapped to an index, or dictionary.” The independent claim at issue reads: 1. A method for compressing input data comprising a plurality of data blocks, the method comprising…

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“At Least One Piece” Can Mean the Whole Thing

The Federal Circuit held that the broadest reasonable interpretation of “at least one piece” of a computer file can include the entire computer file in the absence of further limitation in the claim or definition in the specification. AC Technologies v. Amazon.com, Inc. (Appeal No. 218-1433; Decided January 9, 2019). The patent at issue is directed toward storing copies of data across a network to improve data integrity and reduce network lag. To accomplish this, the system copies data redundantly across the network.  The relevant claim at issue reads: 1. A data management system comprising: … at least one computer unit that stores at least one complete file, each file including a plurality of individual pieces, the pieces containing parts of the files, wherein at least one piece is stored in a redundantmanner in the at least two data storageunits; …   In the underlying IPR, which was appealed in this case,…

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When an Examiner Can Use a Dictionary: Guidance from In Re Smith International

In In Re Smith International, the Federal Circuit stated that the broadest reasonable interpretation of a claim term must be consistent with the specification, as discussed in a previous post.  So does that have any effect on the Examiner’s ability to use extrinsic evidence, such as a dictionary definition, to interpret a claim term?  The two ex parte PTAB appeals discussed below cite In Re Smith Internationaland provide some guidance. In Ex parte Boeke, Appeal 2016-002873 (decided May 2018), the claim included “at least one discharge slot having a first portion that includes an oval geometry.”  The specification distinguished “oval” from “racetrack shape” with reference to Figures 4 and 5, reproduced below.  Specifically, the specification defined “oval” as having “no straight portions, see Fig. 5,” and defined “racetrack shape” as “ “includes two flat sides 90, 92, see discharges slots 80B of FIGS. 3 and 4.” The rejection was based on a racetrack-shaped…

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