M & K HOLDINGS INC. v. SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD.

M & K HOLDINGS INC. v. SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD., Appeal No. 2020-1160 (Fed. Cir. February 1, 2021).  Before Moore, Bryson, and Chen.  Appealed from Patent Trial and Appeal Board.  (§102 Printed Publications – Public Accessibility)

Background:

In a petition for inter partes review, Samsung argued that the claims of M&K’s patent were unpatentable over one or more references known as WD4-v3, Park, and Zhou.  All three references relied upon in Samsung’s petition were created in conjunction with the work of a joint task force known as the Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC) for establishing industry standards for high-efficiency video coding.  The JCT-VC holds quarterly meetings at which tech companies, universities, and other members submit and discuss input documents that propose changes to the industry standards, such as Park and Zhou.  The changes agreed upon by the members are then incorporated into a working-draft document, such as WD4-v3.

During inter partes review, M&K argued that each of the three references was not publicly accessible and thus did not constitute a printed publication under 35 U.S.C. §102.  The PTAB disagreed and found the claims unpatentable over the references.  On appeal, M&K only disputed the public accessibility of the input documents, Park and Zhou.

Issue/Holding:

Did the PTAB err in holding that the Park and Zhou references were publicly accessible?  (continue reading)

Summary by:  Megan Doughty

To view additional Federal Circuit decisions, please visit our Federal Circuit Case Summaries page.