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B/E Aero., Inc. v. C&D Zodiac, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

June 26, 2020, Decided

2019-1935, 2019-1936


 [*1374]  Reyna, Circuit Judge.

B/E Aerospace, Inc. appeals a final written decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that found certain claims of B/E's aircraft lavatory-related patents obvious. B/E contends that the Board's decision is erroneous because the Board incorporated a claim limitation that is not present in the prior art. B/E also contends that the Board erred by relying on printed matter that does not qualify as prior art under 35 U.S.C. § 311(b). We conclude that the Board's final determination of obviousness is correct, and we do not reach the § 311(b) issue. On that basis we affirm the Board's final written decision.


This appeal arises from an inter partes review ("IPR") proceeding. [**2]  Petitioner, C&D Zodiac, Inc. ("Zodiac"), challenged two patents owned by B/E Aerospace, Inc.  [*1375]  ("B/E"), U.S. Patent No. 9,073,641 ("the '641 patent") and U.S. Patent No. 9,440,742 ("the '742 patent") (collectively, "the challenged patents").

The technology involved in this appeal is simple. The challenged patents relate to space-saving technologies for aircraft enclosures such as lavatory enclosures, closets, and galleys. C&D Zodiac, Inc. v. B/E Aerospace, Inc., No. IPR2017-01275, 2018 Pat. App. LEXIS 9152 (P.T.A.B. Oct. 23, 2018). Each patent contains a two-page written description that teaches an enclosure with contoured walls designed to "reduce or eliminate the gaps and volumes of space required between lavatory enclosures and adjacent structures." '641 patent at 1:52-56. In other words, the patents are directed to space-saving modifications to the walls of aircraft enclosures; they are not directed to the structures contained within those walls. Id.; see IPR2017-01275, 2018 Pat. App. LEXIS 9152.

The parties agree that, for purposes of this appeal, the challenged patents and claims are not materially different and that claim 1 of the '641 patent is representative of the challenged claims.

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962 F.3d 1373 *; 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 19886 **; 2020 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 10706; 2020 WL 3478651

B/E AEROSPACE, INC., Appellant v. C&D ZODIAC, INC, Appellee

Prior History:  [**1] Appeals from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Patent Trial and Appeal Board in Nos. IPR2017-01275, IPR2017-01276.

C&D ZODIAC, INC.,, 2018 Pat. App. LEXIS 9152 (P.T.A.B., Oct. 23, 2018)

Disposition: AFFIRMED.


seat, recess, patents, skill, aft, enclosures, lavatory, space, passenger, predictable, technology, contoured, artisan, printed, modify, forward-facing, aircraft

Business & Corporate Compliance, US Patent & Trademark Office Proceedings, Patent Law, US Patent & Trademark Office Proceedings, Patent Law, Jurisdiction & Review, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Nonobviousness, Evidence, Fact & Law Issues, Substantial Evidence, Elements & Tests, Ordinary Skill Standard, Elements & Tests