Digest of In re James E. Stoller, No. 2014-1271 (Fed. Cir. January 15, 2015) (non-precedential). On appeal from USPTO PTAB. Before Prost, Moore, and Chen.

Procedural Posture: Applicant Stoller appealed from the decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) affirming the examiner’s rejections of all pending claims in Applicant Stoller’s patent application related to a “multilayered winter turf cover for a golf green.” CAFC affirmed-in-part, reversed-in-part, and remanded.

  • Claim Construction: The CAFC held that the Board erred in construing “laminated” to require only layering, because the feature of bonding or uniting multiple layers together was missing from the construction and remanded for reconsideration with the correct construction.
  • Anticipation: The CAFC determined that one of the claims at issue was not anticipated by the cited prior art because the reference used in the rejection did not teach the aspect of the word “laminated” that was lacking in the Board’s claim construction.
  • Obviousness: According to the CAFC, the Board’s erroneous construction of “laminated” did not affect the obviousness rejections of the remaining claims. One of the references, not applied in the anticipation analysis, disclosed a laminated structure under the proper construction of that term. Thus, the court concluded that the combination of the references rendered obvious the claimed laminated structure.