Takeaway: If you are going to use an inventor declaration to support a claim construction, the declaration should not be conclusory and should cite to the specification or ordinary meaning for support.
In its Final Written Decision, the Board found that claims 1-34 of the ’575 Patent are unpatentable. Specifically, the Board found that claims 1-34 are unpatentable as anticipated by or obvious over various different references and combinations of references, including Tessier ‘046, Cheng ‘467, Burk ‘710, Cutler ‘064, JP ‘507, McNeill ‘813, and JP ‘470.
The ’575 Patent discloses a high performance data cable including an interior support (also referred to as a “star separator” or a “separator”) having grooves that accommodate twisted pair conductors allowing for easy spacing of the twisted pairs that improves near-end cross-talk (NEXT), lessening the need for complex and hard to control lay procedures and individual shielding.
The Board began with claim construction, stating that claim terms in an unexpired patent are interpreted according to their broadest reasonable construction in light of the specification. Claims are given their ordinary and customary meaning, and an inventor can act as his or her own lexicographer by defining a term in the specification with reasonable clarity, deliberateness, and precision. The Board began by interpreting the term “channel(s).” The Board looked to the specification of the ’575 Patent and of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,663,061 and 7,339,116 (which derive from the same parent and share common terms) to develop its interpretation. The Board then reviewed Patent Owner’s arguments, but found that the arguments contradicted the plain language of the claims. Patent Owner also submitted a declaration of one of the co-inventors, but the Board did not find it persuasive because intrinsic evidence as to the meaning of “channel” was so unambiguous that it did not have to resort to expert testimony, and the statements in the declaration were conclusory and not supported by a citation to the specification or an ordinary meaning.
The Board then interpreted the term “twisted together . . . to close the communications cable.” Again, the Board discussed, and then rejected, Patent Owner’s argument.
The Board next turned to patentability, ultimately finding that claims 1-34 of the ‘575 Patent are unpatentable in view of the above-referenced prior art references. In reaching this conclusion, the Board rejected Patent Owner’s arguments that at least certain claims were patentable because they required “channels.” According to the Board, the claims are not limited to “channels” for the reasons indicated by the Board in its claim construction analysis.
Berk-Tek LLC v. Belden Technologies Inc., IPR2013-00058
Paper 29: Final Written Decision
Dated: April 28, 2014
Before: Jameson Lee, Josiah C. Cocks, and Phillip J. Kauffman
Written by: Kauffman Related Proceeding: IPR2013-00069