Digest of IN RE 55 BRAKE LLC, No. 2014-1554 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 13, 2015) (non-precedential). On appeal from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Before Chen, Bryson, and Hughes. Per Curiam.

Procedural Posture: The Patent Trial and Appeal Board relied on eight prior-art references individually or in combination to find certain claims of the patent-in-suit, which related to a system for automatically locking vehicle brakes, invalid as obvious or anticipated. Patentee appealed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s validity determinations, challenging issues of claim construction. The CAFC affirmed.

  • Claim Construction: The Board correctly construed the term “plurality of sensors” to include a “vehicle motion sensor.” The claims expressly provided that one of the claimed sensors be a “vehicle motion sensor.” Including such a sensor within the claim scope was also consistent with the other claim limitations and the specification, neither of which required that each sensor by itself be able to control actuation of the automatic brake mechanism. Further, while the specification did include a specific example of the use of a vehicle motion sensor to actuate an automatic brake mechanism and included some narrower embodiments, this did not justify departing from the express wording of the claims.
  • Invalidity: The prior art at issue disclosed one additional sensor in addition to a vehicle motion sensor. Since the claims only required a “plurality” of sensors, the Patent Owner’s argument that the prior art’s disclosure was insufficient lacked merit and the Board was correct to find the claims anticipated or obvious.