March 26, 2015

“PTAB Says Laird Technologies Did Not Infringe GrafTech Patents,” Law360, March 26, 2015

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruled Wednesday that Laird Technologies Inc. has shown under America Invents Act inter partes review that three patents covering a natural graphite material used in small electronic devices are invalid as obvious in light of prior art.

In three final written decisions, the PTAB held that Laird sufficiently demonstrated that Graftech International Holdings Inc.’s U.S. Patent Numbers 6,482,520 B1, 6,982,874 B2 and 7,292,441 B2 would have been obvious over a number of pieces of prior art.

“We determine petitioner has shown, by a preponderance of the evidence, that claims 1, 2, 21, 22 and 23 are unpatentable,” the PTAB said in the decision for the ‘520 patent.

The patents cover a graphite material that is useful in spreading heat and shielding components from heat in small electronic devices, such as laptops, tablets and cellphones.

“While inter partes review proceedings have helped to address [nonpracticing entity] litigation abuses, IPR practice is also a valuable tool to address improperly granted patents owned by practicing entities, who use those weak patents, and the threat of litigation, to improperly inflate market share,” Matthew Cutler, attorney for Laird, told Law360 on Thursday.

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