Digest of Interdigital Commc’ns, Inc. v. Int’l Trade Comm’n, No. 2014-1176 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 18, 2015) (non-precedential). On appeal from the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC” or “Commission”) in Investigation No. 337-TA-800. Before Prost, Mayer, Lourie.

Procedural Posture: Appellant patentee appealed ITC’s finding of non-infringement and invalidity in a section 337 proceeding. CAFC affirmed.

  • Claim Construction: The Commission properly adopted the Administrative Law Judge’s construction of the term “successively sends [or sent] transmissions” to include codes neither modulated with data nor used to modulate data where the specification explicitly provided that “[t]he short code used for this purpose carries no data.” The Federal Circuit rejected appellant’s position that the statement in the specification was limited to a preferred embodiment since “the entire invention is described by reference to a preferred embodiment.” The Federal Circuit also rejected appellant’s claim differentiation argument premised on the fact that independent claims of related patents expressly recited that the transmitted signals “carry no data.” According to the appellant, this suggested that claims lacking a carry-no-data limitation can in fact carry data. The Federal Circuit found the import of claim differentiation diminished and insufficient to overcome the contrary evidence because it attempted to extract meaning by comparing independent claims that were distinguishable in other ways and further involved patents that were not asserted in the case. The court affirmed the corresponding finding of no infringement.
  • Claim Construction: The Commission properly adopted the Administrative Law Judge’s construction of the term “power control bit” to require “single-bit power control information.” The Federal Circuit again rejected a claim differentiation argument in this context, noting that such doctrine is of limited use where one is comparing two independent claims as opposed to a dependent claim with the claim from which it depends. The Federal Circuit found further support for the limiting construction in statements in the specification noting that the entire invention “has been described in terms of the exemplary embodiment.” The court affirmed the corresponding finding of no infringement.
  • Obviousness: Relying on the fact that appellant’s own expert equated “allocation” and “use” in the context of the term construction “two or more physical layer channels allocable by the subscriber unit for data communication,” the Federal Circuit upheld the finding of obviousness where the prior art subscriber units used two or more channels to transmit data, and thus disclosed the contested limitation.