PTAB: Must Consider, but Need Not Follow Prior Court Claim Constructions

Knowles Electronics v. Iancu (Fed. Cir. 2018) In a split decision, the Federal Circuit has affirmed a PTAB Inter Partes Reexamination decision against a patentee – finding the claims of Knowles Patent No. 8,018,049 invalid as anticipated/obvious. The patent here covers a cool microphone on a chip with a special inlaid housing for shielding a transducer the transducer when in use in a hearing aid.  The patent claims the microchip “package,” and the construction of that term forms the crux of the appeal.  Note here that this is the same debate previously discussed in the Federal Circuit’s March 1 decision in Knowles Electronics v. Cirrus Logic (Fed. Cir. 2018) [Knowles Case] Here, the PTAB construed “package” as “a structure consisting of a semiconductor device, a first-level interconnect system, a wiring structure, a second-level interconnection platform, and an enclosure that protects the system and provides the…

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