Sisvel – PTAB Guidance On A Proposed Amendment In An IPR Is Not Binding On The PTAB
November 20, 2023
In Sisvel Int’l S.A. v. Sierra Wireless, Inc., Appeal nos. 2022-1387 and 2022-1492, (Fed. Cir. 2023) the Court considered this issue of when was a claim broadened in a post grant proceeding. Sisvel’s patent U.S. 7,433,698 (‘698) was involved in two IPRs, IPR 2020-01070 and IPR2020-01071 where it attempted unsuccessfully to amend its claim 10. Sisvel received preliminary guidance from the PTAB on its original motion to amend claim 10 which then led it to file a revised motion to amend. Sisvel’s revised motion proposed these amendments:
The amendments to the preamble and the first two limitations result in a more limited claim than original claim 10. However, the PTAB and Federal Circuit held the third limitation “setting the value” to be broader than the original limitation. The original claim required that the value of at least one parameter be based at least in part on information in the at least one frequency parameter. The amended claim required the “use of the frequency parameter” which was interpreted as being broader in scope than the “based on” language of the original claim 10. Using the information was broader in scope than the old language “based at least in part on information in at least one frequency parameter.” “Using the parameter” was broader than basing it on the parameter. The Federal Circuit used the example of using a value V and multiplied by X and then dividing by X where the value X was used to calculate V, but the value V is not based on X. Thus, while proposed claim 36 is narrower overall than claim 10, the last limitation is broader. It is possible for infringement of claim 36 to exist where none existed for claim 10 since a device only “using the frequency parameter” of claim 36 would not infringe claim 10 but would infringe proposed claim 36. The amendment process does not permit a patentee to broaden any aspect of a claim even though the overall the claim is narrower, seeHockerson-Halberstadt, 183 F.3d at 1374 see also 37 C.F.R. § 1.175(b) (“A claim is a broadened claim if the claim is broadened in any respect.”)
Thus, one must be careful in crafting amendments for an IPR or any other post grant proceeding.