Federal Circuit No. 2013-1201

InTouch owns US Pat. No. 6,925,357 ("'357 patent"), 7,593,030 ("'030 patent"), and 6,346,962 ("'962 patent"), which are directed to methods and apparatus for managing access and control of tele-robotic video conferencing systems. InTouch filed suit against VGo, which provided remote teleconference robot systems alleged to infringe InTouch’s patents. The district court found that the accused VGo product did not infringe any of the asserted patents, and the asserted claims of the '357 patent and the '030 patent were invalid based on obviousness.

On appeal, InTouch argued that the terms "arbitrating to control” in the ‘030 patent and the “arbitrator” term in the ‘357 patent should have been construed to cover a system which passively allowed the first requesting user to exclusively control the robot. The Federal Circuit disagreed and concluded that the district court correctly construed that terms to require a determination of which user among multiple users has exclusive control of the robot, consistent with the patents’ disclosures.. The Federal Circuit also construed the term "a call back mechanism that informs a user that was denied access" as a “device that sends a message to a specific user or users who previously were denied access to a particular mobile robot that the same mobile robot can now be accessed.”

Based on these claim constructions, the Federal Court affirmed the non-infringement decision below because VGo’s system passively allowed the first requesting user to exclusively control and sent call back messages to all the users who currently launched the control App regardless of whether the users were previously denied access.

InTouch challenged the district court’s finding that asserted claims of the '357 patent and the '030 patent were obvious in view of combination of several references. The Federal Circuit reversed the district court's finding because the word "arbitrator" used in one of the references had a different meaning from the construed meaning. The Federal Circuit further found that VGo’s expert failed to provide an articulate reasoning to combine the prior art, had relied on impermissible hindsight, and failed to appropriately consider all objective evidence of nonobviousness.

Sung Wook Kooh