By Eric Schweibenz
On June 3, 2014, ALJ Thomas B. Pender issued Order No. 14 (dated June 2, 2014) in Certain Wireless Devices, Including Mobile Phones and Tablets II (Inv. No. 337-TA-905).

By way of background, this investigation is based on a complaint filed by Pragmatus Mobile, LLC (“Pragmatus”) alleging violations of Section 337 in the importation into the U.S. and sale of certain wireless devices, including mobile phones and tablets, that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,149,124 (the ’124 patent) and 8,466,795 (the ’795 patent).  See our December 19, 2013 and January 23, 2014 posts for more details on the complaint and notice of investigation, respectively.

As an initial matter, ALJ Pender determined that a person of ordinary skill in the art “would have had an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering or computer science with two years of work experience and/or post-graduate study, including coursework or work experience related to wireless communication systems (such as cellular technologies) and location systems (such as GPS technology).”

In the Order, ALJ Pender construed seven distinct claim terms: (1) “display,” (2) “second receiver,” (3) “security code,” (4) “standby mode,” (5) “device in proximity to the cellular device,” (6) “determine a location,” and (7) “data.”

As to the first claim term, “display,” ALJ Pender construed the term to be “a computer monitor screen separate from the portable signaling unit.”  Acknowledging that negative limitations are typically disfavored, ALJ Pender determined that context of claim 1 and the specification of the ’124 patent supported the adopted construction. 

Regarding the “second receiver” claim term, ALJ Pender held that the term should have its plain and ordinary meaning, which is “a radio receiver different from the first receiver.”  ALJ Pender determined that the case law and intrinsic record did not support the importation of an “alarm unit” limitation into the claim term.  ALJ Pender acknowledged that the described alarm unit was “the invention,” but found that there was no compelling reason to import this limitation into the “second receiver” claim term.

ALJ Pender construed the third term, “security code,” to have its plain and ordinary meaning of “a code that allows an authorized person to access the device.”  ALJ Pender rejected Respondents’ proposed construction because it read too much from one specific example in the specification.  ALJ Pender also rejected Pragmatus’ and the Commission Investigative Staff’s (“OUII”) proposed constructions because their reference to “unauthorized access” and “unique number or sequence” lacked support in the specification.

ALJ Pender construed the fourth term, “standby mode,” to be “a mode where only essential circuits are powered on.”  ALJ Pender rejected Pragmatus’ argument that the claim should take on its plain and ordinary meaning because there was no evidence in the record to support such a construction.  ALJ Pender further rejected Respondents’ and OUII’s proposed constructions because they tried to improperly import the “sensing an alarm condition” language from the specification into the claim terms.

As to the fifth claim term, “device in proximity to the cellular device,” ALJ Pender construed the term to mean “a device within a preset location range of the cellular device consistent with each device being worn or carried by an individual.”  ALJ Pender held that specification provided context and meaning to the term in reference to a “preset location range” and a “normal” condition of being worn or carried.

Regarding the “determine a location” claim term, ALJ Pender held that the term should have its plain and ordinary meaning “with the requirement that the location is determined by the claimed computer.”  ALJ Pender found that the most reasonable reading of the claim language required the computer to determine the location.  ALJ Pender further held that his adopted construction was consistent with the specification and file history.

ALJ Pender construed the seventh claim term, “data,” to be “information other than voice.”  In support of his construction, ALJ Pender noted that the specification used the term “data” and “voice” conjunctively.