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TQ Delta, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc.

Lack of Non-Conclusory Evidence Supporting Combination Warrants Reversal of IPR Obviousness Decision

TQ Delta, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc., __ F.3d ___, 2019 WL 6222844 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 22, 2019) (Reyna, Hughes (dissenting), STOLL) (PTAB) (2 of 5 stars)

Fed Cir reverses IPR obviousness decisions. TQ Delta’s patents relate to improvements in electronic communication that lower the peak-to-average (PAR) power ratio of transmitted signals. The Board’s decisions were not supported substantial evidence, particularly its findings concerning a POSITA’s motivation to combine the references Cisco identified. The opinion discusses how Cisco failed to present a non-conclusory justification for its expert’s opinion that a person of skill would have combined the references, and thus the record was inadequate to support an obviousness determination. “[Cisco’s expert] offers only unsupported and conclusory statements asserting that an ordinarily skilled artisan at the time of the invention would have been motivated to apply the randomization disclosed in [the secondary reference] as a means to reduce PAR in [the primary one]. . . . Untethered to any supporting evidence, much less any contemporaneous evidence, [the expert’s] ipse dixit declaration ‘fails to provide any meaningful explanation for why one of ordinary skill in the art would be motivated to combine these references at the time of the invention.’” Op. at 18 (quoting, with added emphasis, InTouch, 751 F.3d 1327 (Fed. Cir. 2014)).

Judge Hughes dissents without opinion.

KEYWORDS: INTER PARTES REVIEW; OBVIOUSNESS (NO); MOTIVATION TO COMBINE