Appeals from the United States Patent and Trademark Office,
Patent Trial and Appeal Board in Nos. IPR2015-01828,
William Meunier, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glov-sky and
Popeo, P.C., Boston, MA, argued for appellant. Also
represented by Sandra Badin, Michael Newman, Michael Timothy
Gardner, Cooley LLP, San Diego, CA, argued for
cross-appellants. Also represented by Orion Armon,
Broomfield, CO; Matthew J. Brigham, Dena Chen, Palo Alto, CA.
O'Malley, Reyna, and Taranto, Circuit Judges.
O'Malley, Circuit Judge.
Inc. ("ParkerVision") appeals from three final
written decisions of the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board
("Board") in related inter partes review
proceedings, in which the Board held certain claims of U.S.
Patent No. 6, 091, 940 ("the '940 patent")
unpatentable as obvious under 35 U.S.C. §
103(a). Qualcomm Inc. and Qualcomm Atheros, Inc.
(together, "Qualcomm") cross-appeal from the
Board's determination that Qualcomm failed to prove by a
preponderance of the evidence that certain other claims of
the '940 patent are unpatentable. We affirm.
owns the '940 patent, titled "Method and System for
Frequency Up-Conversion." The inventions of the '940
patent generally relate to telecommunications devices, such
as cellular phones, in which low-frequency electromagnetic
signals are "up-converted" to higher-frequency
signals by various means. '940 patent, col. 1, ll. 23-24;
id. col. 1, ll. 46-48. "Baseband" signals-
electromagnetic signals that encode the relevant information
of sound waves-have low frequencies, and therefore low
energy, making them difficult to transmit wirelessly through
the air. Up-converting these frequencies to higher-frequency
signals, such as radio frequency ("RF") signals,
allows the signal-and, critically, the information contained
therein-to be more efficiently transmitted to a receiver.
Id. col. 13, l. 53-col. 14, l. 6.
specification explains that prior art transmitter systems
used up-conversion components that are costly, both in terms
of power consumption and purchase price. The invention
disclosed in the '940 patent purports to "provide
a more efficient means for producing a modulated carrier for
transmission [that] uses less power, and requires fewer
components." Id. col. 14, ll. 4-8. The
embodiments at issue in this appeal allegedly accomplish this
goal by modulating the amplitude of the baseband signal with
the help of an "oscillating signal." See,
e.g., id. col. 1, l. 58-col. 2, l. 5. This
signal causes one or more "switches" to
"gate" the baseband signal and generate a combined
periodic signal that has a modulated amplitude compared to
the baseband signal. Id.
this method is known as "amplitude modulation," one
byproduct is the creation of "harmonics," which the
specification defines in the singular as "a frequency or
tone that, when compared to its fundamental or reference
frequency or tone, is an integer multiple of it."
Id. col. 8, ll. 22-24. Unwanted harmonics are
subsequently filtered out, after which the resulting signal
is transmitted to other devices. Id. col. 16, ll.
apparatus and method claims are relevant to this appeal.
Claim 21, which is representative of the apparatus claims,
21. An apparatus for frequency up-conversion, comprising:
a pulse shaping module to receive an oscillating
signal and to output a shaped string of pulses that is a
function of said oscillating signal;
a switch module to receive said shaped string of
pulses and a bias signal, wherein said shaped string of
pulses causes said switch module to gate said bias
signal and thereby generate a periodic signal having a
plurality of harmonics, said bias signal being a
function of an information signal, said periodic signal
having an amplitude that is a function of said bias signal;
a filter coupled to said switch module to isolate one or more
desired harmonics of said plurality of harmonics.
Id. col. 69, ll. 19-32 (emphases added). Claim 25,
which is representative of the method ...