Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Everyready loses appeal to CAFC of inter partes re-exam 95/001,683 (CAFC docket 015-1824)

The outcome of the CAFC case was unfavorable to Eveready.

The technology

The ’360 patent is directed to a lithium/iron disulfide
(“Li/FeS2”) electrochemical cell or battery. Li/FeS2 cells
were well known when the application for the ’360 patent
was filed on June 5, 2002.1 The claimed invention of the
’360 patent is focused on improving the design of such
cells. Specifically, the patent describes the need for a
Li/FeS2 cell “with an increased energy density and discharge
efficiency that accommodates the volume increase
of the reaction products generated during discharge.” ’360
patent, col. 2, ll. 7-9.

The one independent claim:

Claim 1 of the ’360 patent, the only independent
claim, reads as follows:

An electrochemical cell comprising
a cathode assembly, said cathode assembly comprising
a metallic cathode current collector having
two major surfaces and a cathode coating disposed
on at least one of said two major surfaces, said
coating comprising iron disulfide,
said cell further comprising a metallic lithium anode
alloyed with aluminum,
wherein the anode to cathode input ratio is less
than or equal to 1.0.

The issue:

We focus on whether claim 1 would have been obvious
in light of Gan, the European Patent Application. Gan is
directed to the control of swelling in electrochemical cells
that use alkali metals, such as lithium.

A procedural point appears in footnote 2:

A footnote
allusion to combinations of references, without more, does
not present a cognizable argument on appeal, see Kennametal,
Inc. v. Ingersoll Cutting Tool Co., 780 F.3d 1376,
1383 (Fed. Cir. 2015), nor may a party raise in this court
rejections that it did not appeal to the Board, see In re
Watts, 354 F.3d 1362, 1367 (Fed. Cir. 2004). Accordingly,
with respect to the dependent claims that were rejected
based on combinations of prior art using Gan as the
primary reference, we treat Eveready’s argument as
confined to its challenge to the Board’s analysis of Gan.

The outcome is unfavorable to Everyready:

The Board’s findings are supported by substantial evidence.
The record contains ample evidence that Gan
discloses a jellyroll cell, that the A/C input ratio of a
jellyroll cell is closely correlated to the total A/C ratio in
the cell, that Gan teaches an A/C ratio less than or equal
to 1.0, and that the principles of Gan apply to a Li/FeS2
cell. In light of that evidence, we affirm the Board’s
finding that claim 1 of the ’360 patent would have been
obvious in view of Gan.


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