Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Salazar v. HTC Corporation

United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Marshall Division

November 3, 2017

JOE ANDREW SALAZAR, Plaintiff,
v.
HTC CORPORATION et al., Defendants.

          CLAIM CONSTRUCTION OPINION AND ORDER

          ROY S. PAVNE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the Court is the opening claim construction brief of Plaintiff Joe Andrew Salazar [Dkt. # 85], the response of Defendant HTC Corporation [Dkt. # 91], the reply of Plaintiff [Dkt. # 94], and the sur-reply of Defendant [Dkt. # 97]. The Court held a claim construction hearing on October 18, 2017. Having considered the arguments and evidence presented by the parties at the hearing and in their claim construction briefing, the Court issues this Claim Construction Opinion and ORDER.

         Table of Contents

         I. BACKGROUND ................................................................................................................. 3

         II. LEGAL PRINCIPLES ....................................................................................................... 5

         III. CONSTRUCTION OF AGREED TERMS ...................................................................... 9

         I V. CONSTRUCTION OF DISPUTED TERMS ................................................................... 9

         A. “base station” (claim 10 and various dependent claims) ...................................................... 9

         B. “microprocessor” (claim 1, 10, and 34) .............................................................................. 15

         C. “memory device” (claims 1, 10, and 34) ............................................................................ 22

         D. “selector” (claim 2) ............................................................................................................. 31

         E. “data detector” (claim 10) ................................................................................................... 36

         F. “command code set” (claims 1, 10, and 34) ....................................................................... 38

         G. “communication protocols” (claim 1, 10, and 34) .............................................................. 42

         H. “parameter sets” (claims 1, 10, and 34) .............................................................................. 46

         I. “backup battery power source” (claim 14) ......................................................................... 50

         J. “plurality of home entertainment systems” (claim 26) ....................................................... 52

         K. “external device” (claim 1, 10, 34) ..................................................................................... 55

         V. CONCLUSION ....................................................................................................................... 57

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff brings suit alleging infringement of U.S. Patent 5, 802, 467 by Defendant. The application leading to the '467 Patent was filed on September 28, 1995 and issued on September 1, 1998. The '467 Patent is entitled “Wireless and Wired Communications, Command, Control and Sensing System for Sound and/or Data Transmission and Reception.”

         In general, the '467 Patent is directed to a handset and base station for communicating with a plurality of external devices. Broadly, the Abstract of the '467 Patent identifies that invention as:

[a]n interactive microprocessor based wireless communication device includes sound and data transceivers, signal detection and coupling devices, signal conversion device, voice recording, playback and storage device, voice activated device, display device, touch screen or similar device, sensors, frequency generation device, sound detection and reproduction devices and power source to concurrently perform generalized two way wireless communications, command, control and sensing functions utilizing radio and infra-red frequency communication links. A microprocessor receives signals from the touch screen and generates a digital data, command/or control signal for transmission to external devices such as home appliances and remote sensors. The microprocessor also responds to voice signal commands received via microphone and a voice processor. The microprocessor uses this signal to generate data, command/or control signals for transmission to external devices such as telephone, paging and intercom systems. Sound signals may be stored in a voice recorder and playback IC for subsequent message processing and coupling to a transceiver and/or a speaker. Telephone ringer signals are generated by the microprocessor and are coupled to a ringer for audio output. In response to certain commands, the wireless communication device establishes a communication link with external devices using radio frequency or infra-red frequency transmission and/or reception. Sensor signals are created by sensors that can detect physical differential changes and that can convert the changes into measurements. These signals are coupled to the microprocessor for further processing, display and/or transmission.

'467 Patent abst. And as a representative example, Claim 10 recites:

10. A handset and a base station employed in a communications, command, control and sensing system for communicating with a plurality of external devices, said handset and base station each comprising:
a microprocessor for generating a plurality of control signals used to operate said system, said microprocessor creating a plurality of communication protocols for transmission to said external devices, each protocol containing a plurality of control signals used to interface with an external device, wherein each communication protocol includes a command code set that defines the signals that are employed to communicate with each one of said external devices;
a memory device coupled to said microprocessor configured to store a plurality of parameter sets retrieved by said microprocessor so as to recreate a desired command code set, such that the memory space required to store said parameters is smaller than the memory space required to store said command code sets;
a user interface coupled to said microprocessor for sending a plurality of signals corresponding to user selections to said microprocessor, and displaying a plurality or menu selections available for user's choice, said microprocessor generating a communication protocol in response to said user selections;
a radio frequency transceiver coupled to said microprocessor fro transmitting to said external devices and receiving from said external devices, radio frequency signals at variable frequencies within a predetermined frequency range and in accordance with said communication protocols;
an infra-red frequency transceiver coupled to said microprocessor for transmitting to said external devices and receiving from said external devices infra-red frequency signals in accordance with said communications protocols;
a selector controlled by said microprocessor for enabling said radio frequency transceiver and said infra-red frequency transceiver, to transmit a desired command code set generated by said microprocessor via either radio frequency signals and infra-red signals as desired, and to receive a signal from any one of said external devices via either radio frequency signals and infra-red signals; and
a data detector coupled to said selector for receiving signals transmitted from each one of said external devices, said data detector providing control signals received from said external devices to said microprocessor.

         II. LEGAL PRINCIPLES

         This Court's claim construction analysis is guided by the Federal Circuit's decision in Phillips v. AWH Corporation, 415 F.3d 1303 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc). In Phillips, the court reiterated that “the claims of a patent define the invention to which the patentee is entitled the right to exclude.” Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1312 (quoting Innova/Pure Water, Inc. v. Safari Water Filtration Sys., Inc., 381 F.3d 1111, 1115 (Fed. Cir. 2004)). “The construction that stays true to the claim language and most naturally aligns with the patent's description of the invention will be, in the end, the correct construction.” Id. at 1316 (quoting Renishaw PLC v. Marposs Societa' per Azioni, 158 F.3d 1243, 1250 (Fed. Cir. 1998)).

         In claim construction, patent claims are generally given their ordinary and customary meaning, which “is the meaning that the term would have to a person of ordinary skill in the art in question at the time of the invention, i.e., as of the effective filing date of the patent application.” Id. at 1312-13. This principle of patent law flows naturally from the recognition that inventors are usually persons who are skilled in the field of the invention and that patents are addressed to, and intended to be read by, others skilled in the particular art. Id.

         Despite the importance of claim terms, Phillips made clear that “the person of ordinary skill in the art is deemed to read the claim term not only in the context of the particular claim in which the disputed term appears, but in the context of the entire patent, including the specification.” Id. The written description set forth in the specification, for example, “may act as a sort of dictionary, which explains the invention and may define terms used in the claims.” Markman, 52 F.3d at 979. Thus, as the Phillips court emphasized, the specification is “the primary basis for construing the claims.” Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1314-17. However, it is the claims, not the specification, which set forth the limits of the patentee's invention. Otherwise, “there would be no need for claims.” SRI Int'l v. Matsushita Elec. Corp., 775 F.2d 1107, 1121 (Fed. Cir. 1985) (en banc).

         The prosecution history also plays an important role in claim interpretation as intrinsic evidence that is relevant to the determination of how the inventor understood the invention and whether the inventor limited the invention during prosecution by narrowing the scope of the claims. Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1314-17; see also Microsoft Corp. v. Multi-Tech Sys., Inc., 357 F.3d 1340, 1350 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (noting that “a patentee's statements during prosecution, whether relied on by the examiner or not, are relevant to claim interpretation”). In this sense, the prosecution history helps to demonstrate how the inventor and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) understood the patent. Id. at 1317. Because the prosecution history, however, “represents an ongoing negotiation between the PTO and the applicant, ” it may sometimes lack the clarity of the specification and thus be less useful in claim construction. Id.

         Courts are also permitted to rely on extrinsic evidence, such as “expert and inventor testimony, dictionaries, and learned treatises, ” id. (quoting Markman, 52 F.3d at 980), but Phillips rejected any claim construction approach that sacrifices the intrinsic record in favor of extrinsic evidence. Id. at 1319. Instead, the court assigned extrinsic evidence, such as dictionaries, a role subordinate to the intrinsic record. In doing so, the court emphasized that claim construction issues are not resolved by any magic formula or particular sequence of steps. Id. at 1323-25. Rather, Phillips held that a court must attach the appropriate weight to the sources offered in support of a proposed claim construction, bearing in mind the general rule that the claims measure the scope of the patent grant. “In cases where . . . subsidiary facts are in dispute, courts will need to make subsidiary factual findings about [the] extrinsic evidence. These are the ‘evidentiary underpinnings' of claim construction [discussed] in Markman, and this subsidiary factfinding must be reviewed for clear error on appeal.” Teva Pharm. USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc., 135 S.Ct. 831, 841 (2015).

         The Supreme Court of the United States has “read [35 U.S.C.] § 112, ¶ 2 to require that a patent's claims, viewed in light of the specification and prosecution history, inform those skilled in the art about the scope of the invention with reasonable certainty.” Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc., 134 S.Ct. 2120, 2129 (2014). “A determination of claim indefiniteness is a legal conclusion that is drawn from the court's performance of its duty as the construer of patent claims.” Datamize, LLC v. Plumtree Software, Inc., 417 F.3d 1342, 1347 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted), abrogated on other grounds by Nautilus, 134 S.Ct. 2120.

         A patent claim may be expressed using functional language. See 35 U.S.C. § 112(f) (formerly 35 U.S.C. § 112, ¶ 6); Williamson v. Citrix Online, LLC, 792 F.3d 1339, 1347-49 & n.3 (Fed. Cir. 2015) (en banc in relevant portion). Where a claim limitation is expressed in means-plus-function language and does not recite definite structure in support of its function, the limitation is subject to 35 U.S.C. § 112(f). Braun Med., Inc. v. Abbott Labs., 124 F.3d 1419, 1424 (Fed. Cir. 1997). In relevant part, § 112(f) mandates that “such a claim limitation be construed to cover the corresponding structure . . . described in the specification and equivalents thereof.” Id. (citing 35 U.S.C. § 112(f)).

         “It is well settled that a claim limitation that actually uses the word ‘means' invokes a rebuttable presumption that § 112, ¶ 6 applies. In contrast, a claim term that does not use ‘means' will trigger the rebuttable presumption that § 112, ¶ 6 does not apply.” Apex Inc. v. Raritan Comp., Inc., 325 F.3d 1364, 1371 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (citations omitted). The Federal Circuit elaborated that “[w]hen a claim term lacks the word ‘means, ' the presumption can be overcome and § 112, ¶ 6 will apply if the challenger demonstrates that the claim term fails to recite sufficiently definite structure or else recites function without reciting sufficient structure for performing that function.” Williamson, 792 F.3d at 1349 (quotations omitted). “The standard is whether the words of the claim are understood by persons of ordinary skill in the art to have a sufficiently definite meaning as the name for structure.” Id.

         When it applies, § 112, ¶ 6 limits the scope of the functional term “to only the structure, materials, or acts described in the specification as corresponding to the claimed function and equivalents thereof.” Williamson, 792 F.3d at 1347. Construing a means-plus-function limitation involves multiple steps. “The first step . . . is a determination of the function of the means-plus-function limitation.” Medtronic, Inc. v. Advanced Cardiovascular Sys., Inc., 248 F.3d 1303, 1311 (Fed. Cir. 2001). “[T]he next step is to determine the corresponding structure disclosed in the specification and equivalents thereof.” Id. A “structure disclosed in the specification is ‘corresponding' structure only if the specification or prosecution history clearly links or associates that structure to the function recited in the claim.” Id. The focus of the “corresponding structure” inquiry is not merely whether a structure is capable of performing the recited function, but rather whether the corresponding structure is “clearly linked or associated with the [recited] function.” Id. The corresponding structure “must include all structure that actually performs the recited function.” Default Proof Credit Card Sys. v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 412 F.3d 1291, 1298 (Fed. Cir. 2005). However, § 112 does not permit “incorporation of structure from the written description beyond that necessary to perform the claimed function.” Micro Chem., Inc. v. Great Plains Chem. Co., 194 F.3d 1250, 1258 (Fed. Cir. 1999).

         III. CONSTRUCTION OF AGREED TERMS

         The parties have agreed to the following meanings for the following terms. See, e.g., Dkt. No. 99-1 (Joint Claim Construction Chart.)

TERM

AGREED CONSTRUCTION

communications, command, control and sensing system

plain and ordinary meaning

control signals

plain and ordinary meaning

         Accordingly, the Court ADOPTS the constructions agreed to by the parties as listed above.

         IV. CONSTRUCTION OF DISPUTED TERMS

         The parties' positions and the Court's analysis as to the disputed terms are presented below.

         A. “base station” (claim 10 and various dependent claims)

Plaintiff's Proposed Construction

Defendant's Proposed Construction

Ordinary meaning. The handset and the base station have similar components and function in substantially the same manner. The base station may have additional features, for example: it couples a frequency modulated signal to alternating current (AC) power line; it may be powered by an alternative alternating current (AC) signal and battery power sources; it may provide battery charging for the handset, and it may be coupled to public or private telephone lines.

A device separate from the handset that is structured to transmit signals to and receive signals from the handset, has a telephone line interface that can be used to couple the system to a telephone line, has an AC line FM coupler that can be used to couple FM signals to and from the AC power line and an AC power supply that can be used to provide AC power for operating the base station and charging the handset battery.

         (1) The Parties' Positions

         Plaintiff argues that the plain and ordinary meaning of this term is appropriate. See, e.g., Pl.'s Opening Br. [Dkt. # 85] at 5. Plaintiff argues the plain language of the specification provides an unequivocal definition of the term, which is similar to that proposed by Plaintiff. Id. Plaintiff argues that the specification contradicts Defendant's proposed construction. Id. at 5-6.

         Defendant argues Plaintiff's construction ignores language in the specification that clarifies the meaning of additional features of the base station as opposed to the handset. See, e.g., Def.'s Resp. Br. [Dkt. # 91] at 6. Defendant argues that a base station is different from a handset, and its construction shows that the base station has structure that enables use of specific additional functionality. Id. at 7.

         Plaintiff replies that Defendant's construction is contradicted by claim differentiation and figures in the specification and imports limitations unnecessarily from the specification. See, e.g., Pl.'s Reply B r. [ Dkt. # 94] at 1-3. Plaintiff argues the patent does not discriminate between the components and functionality of the handset or base station, and that the base station and handset have similar components and function in substantially the same manner. Id. at 2-3.

         Defendant counters that the claims require two different devices. See, e.g., Def.'s Sur-Reply [Dkt. # 97] at 1. Defendant argues the specification identifies specific structures in the base station that are not present in the handset. Id. Defendant argues the Court should clarify that the base station and handset are two different devices and identify the differences explicitly required by the specification. Id. at 1-2.

         (2) Analysis

         The Claims

         The disputed “base station” term appears in independent claim 10 and its dependent claims.

         The preamble of claim 10 is reproduced below in relevant part, as well as various dependent claims:

[claim 10] A handset an d a base station employed in a communications, command, control and sensing system for communicating with a plurality of external devices, said handset and base station each comprising
[claim 12] The communication, command, control and sensing system of claim 10, wherein said base station is coupled to at least one telephone line via a telephone line interface.
[claim 13] The communications, command, control and sensing system of claim 10 wherein said base station is adapted to couple frequency modulated signals to an alternating current power line.
[claim 14] The communications, command, control and sensing system of claim 10 wherein said base station further comprises a backup battery power source.
[claim 18] The communications, command, control and sensing system of claim 17, further comprising an internal and an external intercom device, so as to provide voice and data communications among said base station, said handset and external intercom devices.
[claim 23] The communications command, control and sensing system of claim 10, further comprising at least one sensor located on either of said handset and base station, said sensor coupled to said microprocessor for detecting and measuring physical phenomena.

         (emphasis added). Independent claim 10 requires both a handset and a base station and requires each of the handset and base station to have various limitations. Some of the dependent claims (e.g., claims 12-14) provide additional limitations for the base station. Despite these limitations, there is nothing in the claim language that provides a special meaning for the “handset” or “base station” terms.

         The Specification

         The specification has repeated references to a “handset” and “base station.” FIGS. 1a and 1b are block diagrams of the system comprised of a “handset and base station in accordance with the present invention.” '467 Patent at 6:1-9. FIG. 1a of the '467 Patent (below) provides a picture of the handset and base station. Likewise, FIG. 1b of the patent (below) illustrates a block diagram of the system showing communication between the handset, base station, and external appliances and/or apparatuses.

         (Image Omitted)

         The '467 Patent discusses the handset and base station illustrated in FIG. 1b:

As illustrated in FIG. 1b, external appliances and/or apparatuses may include an intercom 2, an alarm 3, an alternating current (AC) actuator 4, a TV 5, a VCR 6, a cable box 7, a sound system 8, a remote sensor 9, or any other RF/IR apparatus 11. As shown, handset 10 may communicate directly to any of the external apparatuses or directly to a base station 25. Alternately, base station 25 may communicate directly with any of the external apparatuses or handset 10. Further still, handset 10 may communicate to an external apparatus through base station 25. Finally, base station 25 may communicate through a telephone line and/or an alternating current (AC) signal power line to any other apparatus having the ability to communicate through same.

'467 Patent 6:39-51 (emphasis added). The Summary of the Invention section provides a summary of the “handset” and “base station”:

In accordance with the present invention, a wireless and wired communications, command, control and sensing system, in the form of a remote handset or base station, or both, is provided. Both the handset and the base station have similar components and function in substantially the same manner. The base station may have additional features, for example: it couples a frequency modulated signal to alternating current (AC) power line; it may be powered by an alternative alternating current (AC) signal and battery power sources; it may provide battery charging for the handset, and it may be coupled to public or private telephone lines.
Both the handset and the base station contain a touch screen or similar touch sensitive device that when touched in at least one specific outlined area, provide the means for externally interacting with their respective microprocessors. This interaction initiates the execution of a software instruction set.

'467 Patent at 2:66-3:14.

The base station radio frequency transceiver further couples two way frequency modulated signals from and to alternating current (AC) power line for two way communication with other frequency modulation transceivers that are also coupled to alternating current (AC) power line.
The base station further couples voice and data signals to public and/or private telephone network.
The base station is further powered by direct current (DC) signal and an alternating current (AC) signal power source.

Id. at 4:34-42 (emphasis added). Numerous other references to the handset and base station are found within the specification.

         The specification teaches that the handset and base station are separate devices. While the handset and base station have similar components and function in substantially the same manner, the base station may have additional features. The specification is consistent with the claims, in that the base station and handset have similar components and functions (see claim 10), but the base station may have additional features (see, e.g., claims 12-14).

         Prosecution History

         Neither party substantively relies on the prosecution history in support of their positions on this term.

         Conclusion

         Overall, the Court finds the '467 Patent provides no special meaning to the term “handset” or “base station, ” and the patent's use of these terms is consistent with their ordinary meaning. The specification is consistent with the claims. FIG. 1A provides simple picture descriptions of a “handset” and “base station, ” which descriptions are consistent with the plain meaning of these terms and the claims. FIGS. 1b and FIGS. 2-5 similarly provide block diagrams of a “handset” and “base station” consistent with their plain and ordinary meanings. While the '467 Patent does provide some specific limitations for the handset and base station in the claims, this does not change the plain and ordinary meaning of the base station and handset terms.

         The Court rejects both Plaintiff's and Defendant's constructions. Both unnecessarily complicate the plain meaning of these terms and create ambiguity and confusion as to the meaning of these terms. For example, Plaintiff's construction fails to provide any inherent meaning to the “handset” and “base station” terms. Defendant's construction unnecessarily limits “base station” with additional structure found in the preferred embodiment of the specification and various dependent claims.

         Instead, the Court finds that the “base station” and “handset” terms do not appear to have a meaning other than its plain and ordinary meaning. The Court, however, finds that a construction is helpful to eliminate the dispute between the parties and to give some meaning to the separate terms and devices “handset” and “base station.”

         On balance, the Court finds the “base station” and “handset” are different devices and have different meanings. Simply put, a “handset” is not a “base station.” During the claim construction hearing, Plaintiff was unable to articulate any required difference in structure between the handset and base station and only argued there “may” be differences and added functionality to the base station. On the other hand, Defendant's construction goes too far in its inclusion of multiple limitations from the specification. The claims and specification are very clear that most of these additional structures are optional and are not a required part of the “base station.” The Court is tasked with determining what is the primary distinguishing feature between a handset and base station based on their ordinary meanings and the intrinsic record. The Court finds that-consistent with the specification's repeated characterization of the “present invention” and the plain meaning of the term “base station”-the “base station” term must require a telephone line interface. The Court rejects Plaintiff's arguments to the contrary. Regarding dependent claim 12, the Court notes that claim differentiation is not dispositive.

         The Court hereby construes the term “base station” to mean “a device separate from the handset that has a telephone line interface.

         B. “microprocessor” (claim 1, 10, and 34)

Disputed Term

Plaintiff's Proposed Construction

Defendant's Proposed Construction

a microprocessor for generating a plurality of control signals used to operate said system (claim 1)

said microprocessor creating a plurality of reprogrammable communication protocols / said microprocessor creating a plurality of communication protocols (claims 1, 34 / 10)

plain and ordinary meaning

A microprocessor configured to create a plurality of control signals used to operate the communications, command control and sensing system and to create all of the command code sets for [reprogrammable] communication protocols of each of the plurality of external devices with which the system is intended to communicate.

INVALID because is indefinite as construed under IPXL Holdings (invalid for claiming both apparatus and use)

         (1) The Parties' Positions

         Defendant argues the microprocessor must be actually programmed to perform all of the recited functional language. See, e.g., Def.'s Resp. Br. [Dkt. # 91] at 8-10. The claim language and prosecution history, says Defendant, require more than just the “ability” to be programmed to perform the recited function. Id. Moreover, Defendant argues the claim language of using “creating” and “recreating” creates confusion, and similar to the IPXL Holdings, renders the claim invalid. Id. at 10-13. Defendant also argues the “timing” of the acts (microprocessor creating and memory device recreating) are different. Id. at 12. Defendant argues the public is not given reasonable notice about when infringement occurs and is thus invalid as being indefinite. Id.

         Plaintiff argues that the plain and ordinary meaning of this term is appropriate. See, e.g., Pl.'s Opening Br. [Dkt. # 85] at 7. In its Reply, Plaintiff argues that Defendant's prosecution history statements are misleading and wrong. See, e.g., Pl.'s Reply Br. [Dkt. # 94] at 3-4. Plaintiff argues the patent discloses “capability” claims, and that the Notice of Allowance confirms the claims are “capability” claims and not use claims. Id. Plaintiff argues that there is no support in the intrinsic evidence to limit the claims as proposed by Defendant. Id.

         Plaintiff also argues IPXL Holdings is not applicable because the claims only indicate a capability of the structure rather than actual use. Id. at 4-5. In particular, Plaintiff argues that the claims and specification of the patent make clear the microprocessor has the capability to create a plurality of reprogrammable communication protocols and recreate a desired command code set. Id. at 5. There is no “user activity” required. Further, the timing of the creating/recreating of the command code set has no bearing on infringement because infringement occurs upon creation of the system that is capable of performing the creating/recreating of the command code set and “when” that actual creating/recreating steps happens is immaterial. Id.

         Defendant counters that Plaintiff ignores the vast majority of prosecution history and its entire argument is based on a single reference to “capability” in the Notice of Allowance. See, e.g., D e f . 's S u r-Reply [Dkt. # 97] at 2. Defendant argues the patentee used functional claim language and added even more functional claim language during prosecution, thus claiming the structure of “microprocessor” beyond being merely a microprocessor and emphasized that structure for patentability. Id. at 3. While the claims recite a microprocessor for “generating” and “creating, ” Defendant asks the Court to construe those terms as requirements-not just capabilities. Id.

         (2) Analysis

         The Issue

         The primary issue as to this term is whether it is invalid for improperly reciting both apparatus and use limitations in a single claim, or whether it indicates structure capability as opposed to use.

         Claims

         The microprocessor and related memory device terms are recited in each of the independent claims in substantially similar language. As an example, Claim 1 recites:

a microprocessor for generating a plurality of control signals used to operate said system, said microprocessor creating a plurality of reprogrammable communication protocols, for transmission to said external devices wherein each communication protocol includes a command code set that defines the signals that are employed to communicate with each one of said external devices;
a memory device coupled to said microprocessor configured to store a plurality of parameter sets retrieved by said microprocessor so as to recreate a desired command code set, such that the memory space required to store said parameters is smaller than the memory space required to store said command code sets;

         (emphasis added). Based on a plain reading of the claims, the microprocessor is configured to create the communication protocols (which includes a command code set). As recited in the memory device limitation, the microprocessor is configured to retrieve parameters sets from the microprocessor so as to recreate a desired command code set.

         Prosecution History

         In response to the office action rejecting the claims over the prior art, the applicant amended independent claims 1 and 10 to include additional detail on the “microprocessor” limitation and include the entire “memory device” limitation:

1 (Amended). A communications, command, control and sensing system for communicating with a plurality of external devices comprising:
a microprocessor for generating a plurality of [predetermined] control signals used to operate said system, said microprocessor creating a plurality of reprogrammable communication protocols, for transmission to said external devices wherein each communication protocol includes a command, code set that defines the signals that are employed to communicate with each one of said external devices:
a memory device counted to said microprocessor configured to store a plurality of parameter sets retrieved by said microprocessor so as to recreate. a desired command code set, such that the memory space required to store said parameters is smaller than the memory space required to store said command code set:

Oct. 31, 1997 Response to Office Action at 1-2. In the response, the applicant explained these limitations:

Thus, one of the features of the present invention is to alleviate the requirement for such a large memory space. The amount of required memory space is substantially reduced so as to communicate with a plurality of devices via different signals by providing a ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.