ITC finally determined that Apple’s products (iPhone 4 (AT&T models); iPhone 3GS; (AT&T models); iPhone 3 (AT&T models); iPad 3G (AT&T models); and iPad 2 3G (AT&T models)) infringe the asserted claims (claims 75-76 and 82-84) of the US7706348 (’348) patent “Apparatus and Method for Encoding/Decoding Transport Format indicator in CDMA Mobile Communication System.” The Commission’s determination was based on modification of certain claim terms in previous ALJ’s claim construction. The key term that was critical in overturning previous ALJ’s non-infringement determination was “puncturer.” The ALJ concluded that the term “puncturer” means “hardware or software for puncturing.”
Samsung argued that the asserted claims of the ’348 patent cover the Sections 4.3.3 and 4.3.5 of 3GPP’s UMTS standard specification TS 25.212, and thus, Apple’s standard-compatible smartphones implementing coding method that was described in Sections 4.3.3 and 4.3.5 should infringe the asserted claims of the ’348 patent.
However, Apple argued that the term “puncturer” was excluded in the final specification (Samsung’s proposal including the term “puncture” was adopted initially during the standardization procedure), and thus Section 4.3.5 does not require that hardware or software for puncturing as only means to make final code word. Apple insisted that Intel’s baseband chips that were used in its products did not use “puncturer” in producing the final code word.
In the new claim construction, the Commission might broaden the meaning of the term “puncture” encompass general function of producing final code word beyond the plain meaning of puncturing.
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