Digest of In Re Index Systems, Inc., No. 2014-1084 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 11, 2014) (non-precedential). On appeal from PTAB. Before Prost, Lourie, and Hughes.

Procedural Posture: Index Systems appealed the PTAB’s reexamination decision affirming the final rejection of the claims as obvious. CAFC affirmed.

  • Obviousness: The claims were directed to a system and method for restricting access to television programming using a two-dimensional matrix display wherein program ratings information (e.g., TV-MA or TV-PG) and specific content information (e.g., L, language or V, violence) are arranged in rows and columns of tiles.

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The PTAB held that the claims were obvious over prior art, including EIA-744, an Electronic Industries Association publication that describes a standard way of encoding ratings and content information into TV broadcast signals. EIA-744 presented rating and content information in a two-dimensional row-and-column format. On appeal, Index Systems asserted that the claims were not invalid as obvious because 1) a person of ordinary skill in the art would not have considered EIA-744 analogous art, and 2) even if EIA-744 were analogous art, the two-dimensional matrix of the reexamined patent would not have been obvious over EIA-744 and a prior art patent that disclosed a two-list display of rating and content information. The CAFC affirmed the PTAB’s obviousness determination, and concluded that a person of ordinary skill in the art would have consulted EIA-744, based on the patent specification, and Index Systems’ proffered definition of a person of ordinary skill in the art as having “several years of relevant experience, such as the design or research of computer display systems, video recorders, Teletext decoders, cable or satellite TV set-top boxes or any equivalent experience.”