FEDERAL CIRCUIT FINDS SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE FOR FAILURE TO DEMONSTRATE OBVIOUSNESS IN IPR 

ELBIT SYSTEMS OF AMERICA, LLC, v. THALES VISIONIX, INC.,  Appeal No. 2017-1355 (Fed. Cir. February 6, 2018).  Before Wallach, Moore, and Stoll.  Appealed from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

Background:

Elbit sought inter partes review of various claims of the ‘159 patent, which was assigned to Thales, as obvious over the McFarlane patent in combination with other references.  The ‘159 patent and McFarlane both relate to tracking motion relative to a moving platform (e.g., tracking motion of a person’s head while riding in a moving vehicle).  McFarlane described a three-step approach that calculates two orientations and then resolves them to determine relative orientation.  The ‘159 patent employs a two-step method that uses raw signal data from inertial sensors to calculate a relative angular rate signal, which is then used to calculate the relative orientation. Before the PTAB, the parties presented competing expert testimony in support of the obviousness/nonobviousness of the ‘159 patent’s two-step method when starting from McFarlane’s three-step method. The PTAB issued a final written decision finding Elbit failed to demonstrate by a preponderance of evidence that the claims at issue would have been obvious over McFarlane.

Issues/Holdings:

Did the PTAB err in finding Elbit did not meet the burden of proving the asserted claims of the ‘159 patent were unpatentable by a preponderance of the evidence? (continue reading)

Summary by:  Donald Raymond