Wednesday, August 15, 2012

CAFC affirms invalidity of Rambus claim

As to Reexamination No. 90/010,420, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the BPAI's determination that claim 18 of Rambus’s U.S. Patent No. 6,034,918 is invalid.

There was an issue of failure to limit:

This court agrees with the Board that the specification does not restrict the invention to single chip memory devices. There are no words of manifest exclusion or clear disavowals of multichip devices—there are only preferred embodiments and goals of the invention that Rambus argues are better met by single chip devices. The specifi-cation language Rambus cites shows only that the inven-tion can be carried out with a single chip memory device, it does not require the invention to be so performed. ’918 Patent col. 17 ll. 17-27 (referring to an embodiment where a single RAM supplies all bits for a block request). Other portions of the specification that Rambus cites are com-pletely inapposite to the determination of the number of chips in a memory device.


The PTO counters that claim 18 of the ’918 Patent is directed to broad subject matter and “memory” is more accurately read as an adjective modifying “device.” The PTO argues that the plain language of the claim does not restrict “memory devices” to single chip components and that the word “device” is broad enough to cover any com-ponent for carrying out the memory functions of a computer.
We agree with the PTO. With respect to the meaning of the term “memory device,” the expert testimony on which Rambus relies directly conflicts with the testimony on which the Board relies.

Omega was cited:

The parties agree that “unless otherwise compelled . . . the same claim term in the same patent or related patents carries the same construed meaning.” Omega Eng’g, Inc. v. Raytek Corp., 334 F.3d 1314, 1334 (Fed. Cir. 2003).

The CAFC cited oral argument against Rambus:

And at oral argument Rambus conceded that the memory device must at minimum have such control logic. See Oral Arg. at 12:20-12:33, available at ment-recordings/2011-1247/all. Rambus only attempted to exclude more complex controllers from the memory device. Oral Arg. at 15:35-15:50. But excluding more complex controllers does not eliminate all control functionality.

This is an anticipation case:

The parties entire anticipation dispute turns on whether the memory device in claim 18 of the ’918 Patent reads on the memory module in the iAPX Manual. We conclude that substantial evidence supports the Board’s decision that it does.

The law firm of Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP, of Washington, DC argued for Rambus in the appeal.


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