Tuesday, July 25, 2017

CAFC explicates the meaning of the word "over" in Home Semiconductor. PTAB reversed.

In Home Semiconductor v, Samsung [2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 13356 ], appellant Home won a reversal of PTAB:

Home Semiconductor Corp. (“Home”) appeals from the
final written decision of the United States Patent and
Trademark Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“the
Board”) in an inter partes review (“IPR”) proceeding
finding that, inter alia, claims 2 and 9–14 of U.S. Patent
6,146,997 (“the ’997 patent”) are unpatentable as anticipated
by U.S. Patent 6,277,720 (“Doshi”). Home Semiconductor
Corp. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., No. IPR2015-
00460, 2016 Pat. App. LEXIS 7424 (P.T.A.B. Apr. 20,
2016) (“Final Decision”). For the reasons that follow, we

[meaning the patentee-appellant, Home, wins.]

At issue was the meaning of the word "over":

This appeal primarily involves the meaning of the
word “over” in the context of the claims, written description,
and figures.

In part, the disagreement:

In its patent owner response, Home argued that "forming an oxide layer over the diffusion region" in claims 2 and 9 should mean "forming an oxide layer covering the diffusion region" in light of the specification. J.A. 499 (emphasis added). Based on its proposed construction, Home argued that Doshi did not anticipate the challenged claims.

In reply, as it had done in its IPR petition, Samsung argued that the broadest reasonable interpretation of "forming an oxide layer over the diffusion region" should be "forming an oxide layer above the diffusion region." J.A. 695-96. Samsung argued that construing "over" as "covering" was too narrow a reading for a person of ordinary skill in the art and that its argument was supported by Becker, which describes gate electrode structures that do not cover the substrate as being "over" the substrate.

Of PTAB's analysis of ONE argument by Samsung:

It is undisputed that the oxidation in Doshi occurs on the sides of the gate electrode, which itself does not verti-cally overlap with the diffusion region and is only aligned on an extended edge above the diffusion region. Regard-less whether the oxidation of the polysilicon 22 in Doshi results in an oxide being formed within the sidewall filament 11, the polysilicon 22, or both, the "oxide layer" in Doshi, which teeters above on the outermost edge of the diffusion region, cannot be understood as an oxide layer formed "over the diffusion region." The Board rejected Home's similar line of argument that the oxide layer in Doshi is "higher but off to the side." Final Decision, 2016 Pat. App. LEXIS 7424, at *33-35. It is difficult to discern the Board's reasoning and analysis in response, but
regardless, we conclude that the Board erred in its antici-pation finding because its claim construction was flawed.
Doshi's "oxide layer" is only "above" the diffusion re-gion in the sense that it is higher in position, but is mere-ly insignificantly overlapping with the diffusion region, and therefore is not "over the diffusion region." "[O]xidizing the sides" of the gate electrode in Doshi is not "forming an oxide layer over the diffusion region"; it is the "layer of silicon nitride" that is "deposited overall" in Doshi. Doshi col. 7 ll. 59-60. Substantial evidence thus does not support the Board's finding [*18] of anticipation be-cause Doshi fails to teach forming an oxide layer over the diffusion region in addition to on the sidewalls of the gate electrode. Because independent claim 9 is not anticipated by Doshi, dependent claims 10-14 are also not anticipated by Doshi.

There was another argument by Samsung, which "fell by the wayside."

Of interest to IPBiz was the argument not addressed by
the Board:

Samsung argues in the alternative that a growth of
the oxide layer in Doshi occurs over, and covers, the
diffusion region. Although argued for by Samsung during
the IPR proceeding
, the Board did not make a specific
finding on whether an oxide layer grows over and covers
the diffusion region. Even if factual findings to that effect
had been made in favor of Samsung, they would only have
been relevant if Samsung had argued that Doshi inherently
teaches the limitation because Samsung had admitted
that Doshi does not expressly disclose an oxide layer
covering the diffusion region. Because such argument
was not squarely before the Board
, and the Board did not
decide on what appears to be an inherency argument, the
issue is not properly before us


Post a Comment

<< Home