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Core Wireless Licensing S.A.R.L. v. Apple Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

August 16, 2018, Decided



 [***1775]   [*1358]  Bryson, Circuit Judge.

This appeal arises from a patent infringement action brought in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiff, Core Wireless Licensing S.a.r.l., is the owner of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,477,151 ("the '151 patent") and 6,633,536 ("the '536 patent"). Core Wireless has appealed the district court's judgment with respect to one claim from each patent.

Both patents concern technology for wireless communications in a digital network. Claim 14 of the '151 patent is directed to a mobile station, such as a mobile telephone, that is configured to synchronize to a base station using the same timing information [**2]  for both the uplink and downlink channels. Claim 19 of the '536 patent is directed to a receiver, such as a mobile telephone, that can detect predetermined control messages where they are not otherwise expected, such as on a user information channel.

Following trial, the jury found that the defendant, Apple Inc., infringed both asserted claims, and that neither claim was invalid. Following a concurrent bench trial, the district court rejected Apple's argument that the '151 patent was unenforceable due to implied waiver. We affirm in part, reverse in part, vacate in part, and remand.

The '151 patent describes an improvement in the way mobile devices communicate with base stations. A single base station may communicate with many mobile devices, and steps must be taken to ensure that the transmissions do not overlap and interfere. The patent describes a Time Division Multiple Access ("TDMA") scheme, in which a particular mobile device is assigned specific time slots in which to send or receive data. '151 patent, col. 1, ll. 12-17; id., col. 1, ll. 33-47; id., col. 3, ll. 36-38.

The assigned time slots are quite short, so it is important that the transmissions be sent and received at precise times. Among other considerations, the [**3]  device needs to account for  [***1776]  propagation delay—that is, the time it takes for the transmission to travel between the mobile device and the base station. In order to account for the propagation delay, the mobile station will transmit the data in advance of the time slot allotted to it. The period of time that particular data must be sent in advance of the time it should be received is referred to as  [*1359]  the timing advance value ("TAV"). Because the mobile device may be moving closer to or farther from the base station during a particular session, the TAV needs to be recalculated at regular intervals. Id., col. 2, ll. 21-31.

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899 F.3d 1356 *; 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 22837 **; 127 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1773 ***

CORE WIRELESS LICENSING S.A.R.L., Plaintiff-Appellee v. APPLE INC., Defendant-Appellant

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in No. 5:15-cv-05008-NC, Magistrate Judge Nathanael M. Cousins.

Core Wireless Licensing S.A.R.L. v. Apple Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181825 (N.D. Cal., Dec. 22, 2016)



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