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In re AT&T Intellectual Property II, L.P.

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

May 10, 2017

IN RE: AT&T INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY II, L.P., Appellant

         Appeal from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Patent Trial and Appeal Board in No. 95/002, 353.

          CONSTANTINE L. Trela, Jr., Sidley Austin LLP, Chicago, IL, argued for appellant. Also represented by Christopher A. Eiswerth, Joshua John Fougere, Washington, DC.

          Michael Sumner Forman, Office of the Solicitor, United States Patent and Trademark Office, Alexandria, VA, argued for intervenor Michelle K. Lee. Also represented by Nathan K. Kelley, Benjamin T. Hickman, Scott Weidenfeller.

          Before Dyk, Mayer, and Reyna, Circuit Judges.

          Reyna, Circuit Judge.

         AT&T appeals a final decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in an inter partes reexamination. AT&T argues that the Board improperly instituted the reexamination proceedings and erred in finding that the challenged claims are invalid as anticipated. The Board did not exceed its statutory authority when instituting the reexamination and substantial evidence supports the Board's finding of anticipation. We therefore affirm.

         Background

         A. Patented Technology

         This case concerns methods of compressing and transmitting digital video data. To increase the efficiency of digital video transmission, video images are subdivided into blocks, where each block consists of a discrete number of pixels. To compress and transmit the image, a process called transform coding is used to analyze and transform each block's pixel data into a set of numerical representations, called transform coefficients. After transmittal of the transform coefficient data, the image is reconstructed by converting each block of transform coefficients back into a block of pixels.

         Different methods of transform coding vary in efficiency, and some result in higher image quality than others. Prior art methods of transform coding taught a method of scanning the transform coefficients called "run-length encoding, " where the coefficients in each block are scanned in a zigzag pattern from top left to bottom right. This method had certain advantages, but the zig-zagging scan pattern could make it difficult to put the coefficients back in their correct order and reconstruct the pixel block.

         1. Krause

         To address the inefficiencies of run-length encoding, the Krause patent, U.S. Patent No. 5, 295, 203 ("Krause"), discloses "vector coding, " which eliminates the need for scanning the transform coefficients in any particular order or pattern. Vector coding involves assigning a code word to a subset of coefficients that are selected for transmission within a block of transform coefficients, or within portions of the block referred to as regions. In a preferred embodiment, Krause teaches dividing the block of coefficients into regions and applying vector coding to each region. As the written description explains, this is intended to avoid complexities that arise when coding an entire block of coefficients at once. Id. col. 7 ll. 25-35, col. 7 ll. 58-68.

         Krause's independent claim 1 describes vector coding, and dependent claim 2 describes the preferred embodiment of vector coding regions of coefficients:

1. A method for coding video transform coefficients for communication comprising the steps of:
providing a block of transform coefficients;
generating a vector to identify locations of a group of coefficients from said block that qualify for transmission according to predetermined criteria;
encoding said vector to provide a vector code word for transmission; and
encoding the coefficients from said group to provide coefficient code words for transmission;
wherein said vector code word correlates the coefficient code words to coefficient ...

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