Docket No. 2015-1725
MOORE, BRYSON, REYNA
July 22, 2016
Brief Summary: DC grant of SJ to Apple of non-infringement of the claims of Unwired’s ‘446, ‘260 and ‘092 patents vacated; grant of SJ of no infringement by Apple of Unwired’s ‘831 patent affirmed.
Summary: Unwired appealed DC grant of SJ to Apple regarding US 6,532,446; 6,647,260; 6,317,831; and 6,321,092. Unwired argued the DC erred in its claim construction, resolving factual disputes regarding the ‘446, ‘260 and ‘831 patents against Unwired, and applied the incorrect legal standard to its analysis of indirect infringement of the ‘092 patent. The term “voice input” in the ‘446 claims (alleged to encompass Apple’s Siri) was construed by the DC to mean “speech provided over a voice channel” (as proposed by Apple; DC decision based on use of the phrase “[t]he present invention” and its finding that the “use of two separate channels [voice input sent over a voice channel and data files sent over data channel] to be a core feature of the invention”) but Unwired argued it should include data channels. The FC panel concluded the DC erred since “[t]he claims require a voice input, not a voice channel” that “could be transmitted over either a voice channel or a data channel” (plain and ordinary meaning, no disclaimer in specification or prosecution history; “not enough that the only embodiments, or all of the embodiments, contain a particular limitation” (Thorner, FC 2012)). Unwired also disputed the grant of SJ for non-infringement based on the “user information” limitation and construction of “provisioning” in the ‘260 claims (accused Apple services: App and iTunes stores). The FC panel agreed because the DC “required the claimed ‘user information’ to be in a particular format” which is inconsistent with the plain meaning of the term (“Whether the hashed password in Apple’s X-token contains the same ‘user information’ as in a user’s password is a fact question properly left to the jury.” Accumed, FC 2007) and the grant of SJ on the ‘260 patent was vacated. Unwired also argued the construction of the “narrowband channel” in the ‘831 patent relating to secure data transmission over wireless network was incorrect (accused Apple product: Push Notification Service (“APNS”) which routes notifications from multiple applications such as Facebook and Twitter). The FC panel disagreed, concluding “Apple has met its burden of proving there is no genuine issue of material fact” (“the characteristics of the data being transmitted by APNS cannot transform the wideband channel based on TCP/IP into a narrowband channel”). Unwired also challenged the DC’s finding of no indirect infringement (no induced or contributory) of the ‘092 patent relating to identifying the location of a wireless station such as a cell phone. The FC panel found the DC “erred by basing [SJ] on its own estimation of Apple’s noninfringement defense” and explained that “[t]he proper focus…is on the subjective knowledge of the accused infringer [“knowledge of the underlying direct infringement-not merely knowledge of the existence of the patent” (Global-Tech, US 2011)], and the [DC’s] conclusion that Apple’s non-infringement defenses were strong at most created a factual question as to Apple’s own subjective beliefs.” The grant of SJ of no indirect infringement was therefore vacated.