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The Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. One World Technologies, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

December 17, 2019

THE CHAMBERLAIN GROUP, INC., Appellant
v.
ONE WORLD TECHNOLOGIES, INC., DBA TECHTRONIC INDUSTRIES POWER EQUIPMENT, Appellee

          Appeal from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Patent Trial and Appeal Board in No. IPR2017-00214.

          John A. Dragseth, Fish & Richardson P.C., Minneapolis, MN, argued for appellant. Also represented by Benjamin Elacqua, Houston, TX; Katherine Vidal, Matthew R. McCullough, Michael Rueckheim, Winston & Strawn LLP, Menlo Park, CA.

          Jason C. White, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Chicago, IL, argued for appellee.

          Also represented by William R. Peterson, Houston, TX; Dion Michael Bregman, Ahren Christian Hsu-Hoffman, Michael John Lyons, Alexander Stein, Palo Alto, CA; Julie S. Goldemberg, Philadelphia, PA.

          Before Dyk, Reyna, and Hughes, Circuit Judges.

          HUGHES, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         This is a patent case involving garage door and gate operator systems. The Chamberlain Group, Inc. appeals the final written decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in an inter partes review of claims 18-25 of U.S. Patent No. 7, 196, 611, which found all challenged claims anticipated. See One World Techs., Inc. v. Chamberlain Group, Inc., No. IPR2017-00214 (P.T.A.B. May 15, 2018). Because the Board's anticipation findings are supported by substantial evidence, we affirm.

         I

         A

         Chamberlain owns the '611 patent entitled "Barrier Movement Operator Human Interface Method and Apparatus." The '611 patent is directed to improved methods of human interaction with "barrier movement operators," such as garage door operator systems. '611 patent, col. 1 ll. 6-14. The system includes "a motor for moving a barrier between open and closed positions" and a controller that selectively supplies power to the motor. Id. col. 1 ll. 9-12. The controller "includes a programmed microprocessor, [which] responds to user input signals" from a wall control unit and a radio transmitter. Id. col. 1 ll. 64-66. The controller also connects "to a plurality of input/output devices" such as a rotary switch and indicator LEDs that "advise a user of the status of particular controller functions." Id. col. 2 ll. 41-42, 52-53.

         Claims 18-25 of the '611 patent are directed to an "interactive learn mode" that "guide[s] a user through installation and learn mode actions." Id. col. 4 ll. 13-14. During the learn mode, the controller "determines the user activities or steps needed during the learn process" and guides the user through those steps by flashing the indicator LEDs. Id. col 4 ll. 17-19.

         The '611 specification describes the example of using the learn mode to set the garage door operator's "max run timer." Id. col. 4 l. 45. The max run timer is the amount of time for the door to move between its open and closed limits, plus five to ten seconds. The system uses the timer to determine whether the door has been moving for too long without reaching its final open or closed position.

         The '611 patent teaches the following steps for setting the max run timer during the learn mode. First, the user presses a button on the controller to enter learn mode. Next, the controller identifies the proper beginning status for the door and the steps the user must complete to set the timer. Finally, the controller guides the user through the identified steps by flashing the appropriate indicator LED for each step. For example, if the step requires the user to open the door, the controller will flash the open limit LED. Once the user completes all the steps, the controller counts the time for the door to travel from its closed limit to its open limit, adds five to ten seconds, and records that value as the max run timer.

         Independent claim 18, reproduced below, is illustrative of the challenged claims:

18. A method of assisting in the installation and maintenance of a barrier movement operator including a ...

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