Thursday, September 09, 2021

Team WorldWide loses at CAFC

The outcome:

Team Worldwide Corporation (TWW) appeals a postgrant review decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Board) finding claims 1–5 of U.S. Patent No. 9,989,979 (’979 patent) unpatentable as indefinite under 35 U.S.C. § 112(b).1 The Board construed the claim term “pressure controlling assembly” as a means-plus-function limitation under § 112(f) and determined the patent failed to disclose structure to perform each recited function of the assembly limitation, as claimed. The ’979 patent’s filing date is August 29, 2014, making it subject to the American Invents Act (AIA) unless it can properly claim priority from an earlier-filed, pre-AIA patent application. The Board found the specification, shared with an earlier pre-AIA patent application from which the ’979 patent claims priority, lacks adequate written description to support that the inventor possessed the claimed “pressure controlling assembly” at the filing date of either application. The Board therefore concluded that the challenged claims are eligible for postgrant review as they could not claim priority from the preAIA application. We affirm.


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