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Grit Energy Sols., LLC v. Oren Techs., LLC

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

April 30, 2020, Decided

2019-1063

Opinion

Prost, Chief Judge.

Grit Energy Solutions, LLC ("Grit Energy") appeals the decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ("Board") in an inter partes review of claims 1-7 of U.S. Patent No. 8,585,341 ("the '341 patent), in which the Board found that Grit Energy had not met its burden of showing that the challenged claims were unpatentable as obvious. Grit Energy appealed. For the reasons below, we vacate and remand for further proceedings.

Background

The '341 patent covers a system for storing and discharging proppant—a [*2]  material, such as sand or other particulates, that prevents ground fractures from closing during hydraulic fracturing. As shown in figure 7 of the '341 patent, which is reproduced below, the proppant

discharge system includes container 10 positioned on top of support structure 60.

Figures 1 and 3 below represent perspective and cross-sectional views of container 10, respectively. Container 10

includes inlet 28 for receiving proppant and outlet 36 through which proppant can be discharged. Gate 44 can be actuated to cover or uncover outlet 36, thereby preventing or permitting the discharge of proppant. PM 48 protrudes from gate 44.

Figure 5 below depicts support structure 60. Support structure 60 includes actuator 78 with receptacle 76. Pin 48 fits inside receptacle 76 such that actuator 78 actuates the gate 44. When gate 44 is opened, proppant is discharged from outlet 36 to hopper 84 of support structure 60. Hopper 84 includes metering gate 90 for metering proppant onto conveyor 86.

Independent claim 1 is illustrative for purposes of this appeal and recites as follows:

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2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 13875 *; 2020 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 10448

GRIT ENERGY SOLUTIONS, LLC, Appellant v. OREN TECHNOLOGIES, LLC, Appellee

Prior History:  [*1] Appeal from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Patent Trial and Appeal Board in No. IPR2017-00768.

Disposition: VACATED AND REMANDED.

CORE TERMS

shutter, blade, discloses, stud, container, orifice, actuator, configuration, receptacle, infringement, numerals, pin, swap, non-limiting, embodiment, Patent, gate, disclosure, skilled, includes, artisan, recites, support structure, prior art, reasons, top, inter partes, limitations, proppant, substantial evidence

Constitutional Law, Case or Controversy, Standing, Elements, Patent Law, Jurisdiction & Review, Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion, Substantial Evidence, Nonobviousness, Evidence, Fact & Law Issues