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United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
November 13, 2015, Decided
[***2006] [*1351] O'Malley, Circuit Judge.
Netlist, Inc. ("Netlist") is the assignee of U.S. Patent No. 7,532,537 ("the '537 patent"). Inphi Corporation ("Inphi") filed a request for inter partes reexamination1 on June 9, 2010. The examiner rejected claims 1-9, 12-31, and 34-44 as obvious in view of the prior art. In order to overcome this rejection, Netlist amended its claims, narrowing them. Thereafter, the examiner withdrew its rejection of the claims and issued a final decision.
Inphi then filed a Notice of Appeal to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ("PTAB" or [**2] "the Board"), alleging, among other things, that the amendment, which introduced a negative claim limitation, failed to satisfy the written description requirement of 35 U.S.C. § 112, [***2007] paragraph 1 (2006).2 The Board issued a decision affirming the examiner's final decision declining to reject the relevant claims. Inphi Corp. v. Netlist, Inc., No. 2013-009066, 2014 Pat. App. LEXIS 191, 2014 WL 187535 (P.T.A.B. Jan. 16, 2014). Inphi filed a request for rehearing on February 18, 2014. The Board denied Inphi's request and affirmed its decision. Inphi Corp. v. Netlist, Inc., No. 2013-009066, 2014 Pat. App. LEXIS 5232, 2014 WL 4180943 (P.T.A.B. Aug. 13, 2014) ("Board Decision"). Inphi appeals from this decision. Because the Board's determination that the negative claim limitation met the requirements of § 112, paragraph 1 is supported by substantial evidence, we affirm.
The '537 patent, entitled "Memory Module with a Circuit Providing Load Isolation and Memory Domain Translation" has an application date of January 19, 2006.3 The invention relates to computer system memory modules, which Netlist designs and manufactures. In particular, the invention [**3] improves the performance and/or capacity of the memory modules. '537 Patent, col. 1, ll. 29-32. Conventional computer systems, such as a desktop PC or a laptop, are compatible with modular memory systems. Users may simply insert a memory module into a slot or socket in the motherboard of their personal computer. The '537 patent concerns random access memory ("RAM"), which provides short-term storage of data for active software programs. Greater performance and/or capacity RAM leads, in general, to a better performing computer.
The memory module itself comprises a printed circuit board, on which memory devices (also known as memory chips) are mounted:
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805 F.3d 1350 *; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 19746 **; 116 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 2006 ***
INPHI CORPORATION, Appellant v. NETLIST, INC., Appellee
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Patent Trial and Appeal Board in No. 95/001,381.
Netlist, Inc. v. Inphi Corp., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148688 (C.D. Cal., May 18, 2010)Inphi Corp. v. Netlist, Inc., 2014 Pat. App. LEXIS 5232 (Bd. Pat. App. & Interferences, Aug. 13, 2014)
signals, memory, specification, selects, written description, invention, module, limitations, computer system, articulated, sucralfate, patent, substantial evidence, disadvantages, patentee, skilled, disclosure, describes, inventor, domain
Business & Corporate Compliance, Patent Law, US Patent & Trademark Office Proceedings, Reexamination Proceedings, Patent Law, Appeals, Jurisdiction & Review, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Substantial Evidence, Specifications, Description Requirement, Standards & Tests, Claims, Claim Language, Elements & Limitations, Elements & Limitations, Alternative Limitations