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Cisco Systems, Inc. v. TQ Delta, LLC

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

July 10, 2019

CISCO SYSTEMS, INC., Appellant
v.
TQ DELTA, LLC, Appellee ARRIS GROUP, INC., Appellant
v.
TQ DELTA, LLC, Appellee

          Appeal from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Patent Trial and Appeal Board in Nos. IPR2016-01466, IPR2016-01160.

          Theodore M. Foster, Haynes & Boone, LLP, Dallas, TX, argued for appellant Cisco Systems, Inc. Also represented by David L. McCombs, Debra Janece McComas.

          Dan Gresham, Thomas Horstemeyer LLP, Atlanta, GA, argued for appellant ARRIS Group, Inc. Also represented by Charles Griggers, Wesley Austin Roberts.

          Rajendra A. Chiplunkar, McAndrews, Held & Malloy, Ltd., Chicago, IL, argued for appellee. Also represented by Peter J. McAndrews.

          Before Newman, Linn, and Wallach, Circuit Judges.

          Wallach, Circuit Judge.

         The instant appeal is the companion to concurrently issuing appeal No. 2018-1799, where we determined that claims 6, 11, 16, and 20 of Appellee TQ Delta, LLC's ("TQ Delta") U.S. Patent No. 8, 611, 404 ("the '404 patent") are unpatentable as obvious over the same combination of prior art analyzed in this appeal. See TQ Delta, LLC v. Dish Network, LLC, No. 2018-1799, slip op. 19 (Fed. Cir. July 10, 2019). We presume familiarity with our opinion in related appeal, which recites the same technology and illustrative claim as in the instant appeal, and we, therefore, recite only that which is necessary to understand the issues on appeal here. See TQ Delta, slip op. 2-4, Appellant Cisco Systems, Inc. ("Cisco") sought inter partes review ("IPR") with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") of claims 6, 10, 11, 15, 16, and 20 of the '404 patent. Appellant ARRIS Group, Inc. ("Arris") also filed a petition for IPR of claims 1-20 of the '404 patent. In both the Cisco and Arris (collectively, "Appellants") IPRs, the USPTO's Patent Trial and Appeal Board ("PTAB") issued final written decisions finding, inter alia, that the claims were not unpatentable over a combination of the prior art. See Arris Grp., Inc. v. TQ Delta, LLC, No. IPR2016-01160, 2017 WL 6398317, at *7 (P.T.A.B. Dec. 13, 2017); ARRIS Grp., Inc. v. TQ Delta, LLC, No. IPR2016-01160, 2018 WL 1176779, at *3 (P.T.A.B. Mar. 5, 2018) (denying rehearing); see also Cisco Sys., Inc. v. TQ Delta, LLC., IPR No. 2016-01466 (P.T.A.B. Feb. 7, 2018) (J.A. 1- 16).

         Appellants appeal. Because we have already determined that claims 6, 11, 16, and 20 of the '404 patent would have been obvious, see TQ Delta, slip op. at 19, the issue of patentability of these claims is mooted in this appeal, see ArcelorMittal v. AK Steel Corp., 856 F.3d 1365, 1370 (Fed. Cir. 2017) ("A case becomes moot-and therefore no longer a Case or Controversy for purposes of Article III-when the issues presented are no longer live or the parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the outcome." (internal quotation marks omitted) (citing Already, LLC v. Nike, Inc., 568 U.S. 85, 91 (2013))). The remaining claims being challenged on appeal are the patentability of claims 1-5, 7-10, 12-15, and 17-19 ("the Challenged Claims"). We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(4)(A) (2012). We vacate and remand.

         Background

         Entitled "Multicarrier Transmission System with Low Power Sleep Mode and Rapid-On Capability," the '404 patent relates to the field of "multicarrier transmission systems." '404 patent col. 1 l. 31. Relevant here, the exact term "synchronization signal" appears only in the claims. See id. col. 10 l. 6-col. 12 l. 6. However, the specification describes a "synchronizing pilot tone 62a," id. col. 7 l. 15, and refers to it as "a timing reference signal," id. col. 5 ll. 38-39. The specification similarly describes using the "timing reference signal" for "synchronization" as well as other types of timing signals. See id. col. 5 ll. 39-45 (describing the "timing reference signal" being "synchronized with the Master Clock in the transmitter" and explaining that "[o]ther forms of timing signal[s] may, of course, be used").

         Independent claim 6[1] is illustrative and recites in relevant part:

An apparatus comprising a transceiver operable to . . . receive, in the full power mode, a synchronization signal; . . . [and] receive, in the low power mode, a synchronization signal; and exit from the low power and restore the full power mode by using the at least one parameter and without needing to reinitialize the transceiver.

Id. col. 10 ll. 29-43 (emphases added). ...


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