Core Wireless loses appeal against Apple at CAFC
This appeal arises from a patent infringement action
brought in the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Texas. The plaintiff, Core Wireless Licensing
S.a.r.l., is the owner of U.S. Patent No. 6,978,143 (“the
’143 patent”). Claim 17 of the patent, the only claim at
issue in this appeal, recites a mobile station, such as a
mobile telephone, that is connected to a cellular system or
network. The claim is directed to means for sending
packet data from the mobile station to the network using
a selected channel.
Following trial, the jury found that the defendant,
Apple Inc., did not infringe any of the asserted claims.
The district court denied Core Wireless’s motion for
judgment as a matter of law, and Core Wireless took this
appeal. We affirm.
There was an issue with the "what the magistrate said":
The problem with Core Wireless’s argument is that
the premise is incorrect: The magistrate judge did not
clearly reject Apple’s position and adopt Core Wireless’s
position. Core Wireless bases its argument on the magistrate
judge’s failure to include certain language, proposed
by Apple, in the description of the corresponding structure
for performing the “means for comparing” limitation. As
Core Wireless points out, the magistrate judge did not
include Apple’s suggested language that control unit 803
“provide[s] the comparison result to a channel selection
function within the mobile station” and Apple’s reference
to step 660 of Figure 6 in the patent. Those exclusions,
Core Wireless contends, indicate that the magistrate
judge rejected Apple’s position on the construction of that
We disagree. The magistrate judge did not state at
the hearing or include in his order any explanation for
omitting Apple’s proposed text from the claim construction.
This is a "means plus function" case:
Claim 17 is a means-plus-function claim and thus is
controlled by 35 U.S.C. § 112, ¶6 (now codified as section
112(f) under the America Invents Act, which does not
apply to this case). As such, claim 17 covers any device
that performs the function recited in the claim with
structure described in the specification or its equivalents.
Pennwalt Corp. v. Durand-Wayland, Inc., 833 F.2d 931,
934 (Fed. Cir. 1987) (en banc).
Notice that extrinsic evidence arose:
Similarly, in a contemporaneous presentation made to
the European Telecommunications Standards Institute,
the inventor described his proposal as one in which the
mobile station “itself should be able to make decision
whether to send data packets on [the common channel] or
whether to request a [dedicated channel]. Otherwise
there will be unnecessary signalling [sic] . . . before [the
mobile station] can send a data packet on the [common]
channel.” Although Core Wireless argues that the proposal
represents only a “subset” of the invention disclosed
in the ’143 patent, the proposal—like the patent—is clear
that the invention requires the mobile station to make the
selection decision in order to solve the prior art problem.
The language of that proposal provides further support for
the district court’s ruling in the JMOL opinion that claim
17 of the ’143 patent requires that the mobile station
must have the capability to make channel selection decisions.