Takeaway: The Board will likely not be persuaded by arguments based on claim constructions that are not adopted.

In its Final Written Decision, the Board found that Petitioner had not established by a preponderance of the evidence that any of the challenged claims are unpatentable. The ’573 patent relates to “an insert for providing heating, cooling, ventilation or a combination thereof to a seat of an automotive vehicle.”

The Board first addressed claim construction, using the broadest reasonable construction of the terms in light of the specification. In particular, Patent Owner proposed a competing construction for the term “attachment component.” The Board agreed with Patent Owner’s argument, construing “attachment component” as a “component that is configured so as to physically connect the blower housing to another structure.”

The Board then turned to the instituted obviousness grounds of unpatentability. Patent Owner contended that: “(1) Larsson does not disclose the “attachment component” required by claim 1 (PO Resp. 17–22); (2) it would not have been obvious to combine the teachings of Larsson and Pfahler to meet the attachment component requirement (id. at 22–27); and (3) the combined area relationships required by claims 4 and 5 are not rendered obvious by the involved prior art (id. at 27–36).”

With respect to the alleged disclosure of the “attachment component” in Larsson, the Board agreed with Patent Owner’s arguments based on the Board’s adoption of Patent Owner’s proposed claim construction for the term.

Regarding Patent Owner’s argument concerning the combination of Larsson and Pfahler, Petitioner had proposed an alternate theory that the combination of Larsson and Pfahler discloses the “attachment component.” The Board was not persuaded. In particular, the Board was not persuaded of the alleged interchangeability of features of Larsson and Pfahler, which the Board found to be “at the heart of [Petitioner’s] assertion of obviousness.” Instead, the Board agreed with Patent Owner that one of ordinary skill in the art “would have been discouraged from implementing the combination of Larsson and Pfahler in the manner proposed by [Petitioner].”

Accordingly, the Board found that Petitioner did not establish unpatentability of the challenged claims by a preponderance of the evidence.

IGB Automotive Ltd. v. Gentherm GmbH, IPR2014-00667

Final Written Decision Dated: October 13, 2015

Patent: 7,637,573 B2

Before: Josiah C. Cocks, Benjamin D. M. Wood, and Richard E. Rice

Written by: Cocks

Related Proceedings: W.E.T. Automotive Systems, Ltd. v. IGB Automotive Ltd., Civil Action No. 2:13-CV-11536-AJT-PJK (E.D. Mich.)