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Personalized Media Communs., LLC v. Apple Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

March 13, 2020, Decided



 [*1337]  Stoll, Circuit Judge.

Personalized Media Communications, LLC (PMC) appeals from the final written  [*1338]  decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board holding certain claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,191,091 unpatentable on anticipation and obviousness grounds. PMC specifically challenges certain claim constructions underpinning the Board's anticipation and obviousness determinations. Because we agree that the Board erred in construing one of the claim terms at issue, we reverse the Board's decision as to the applicable claims. We affirm the Board's decision as to the remaining claims.


The '091 patent is directed to methods for enhancing broadcast communications with user-specific data by [**2]  embedding digital signals in those broadcast communications. The specification discloses a number of embodiments that include analog broadcast signals with embedded digital signals.

Claim 13 of the '091 patent is illustrative:

13. A method of decrypting programming at a receiver station, said method comprising the steps of:

receiving an encrypted digital information transmission including encrypted information;

detecting in said encrypted digital information transmission the presence of an instruct-to-enable signal;

passing said instruct-to-enable signal to a processor;

determining a fashion in which said receiver station locates a first decryption key by processing said instruct-to-enable signal;

locating said first decryption key based on said step of determining;

decrypting said encrypted information using said first decryption key; and

outputting said programming based on said step of decrypting.

'091 patent col. 285 l. 61-col. 286 l. 9 (emphases added to disputed claim terms).

Independent claim 20 also recites "an encrypted digital information transmission including encrypted information." Id. at col. 286 ll. 29-47. Independent claim 26 recites "an information transmission including encrypted information," which [**3]  lacks the "encrypted digital" modifier. Id. at col. 286 l. 63-col. 287 l. 9.

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952 F.3d 1336 *; 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 8017 **; 2020 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 10165; 2020 WL 1222710


Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Patent Trial and Appeal Board in No. IPR2016-00755.

APPLE INC., 2017 Pat. App. LEXIS 11703 (P.T.A.B., Sept. 19, 2017)



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Patent Law, Jurisdiction & Review, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Substantial Evidence, Infringement Actions, Claim Interpretation, Aids & Extrinsic Evidence, Scope of Claim