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Claim construction - the 7,706,348 patent | 282 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Claim construction - the 7,706,348 patent
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, March 14 2013 @ 04:57 PM EDT
I had a queazy feeling looking at those coding tables, wondering how
they could be part of the patent. They must be part of the Standard,
so that phones using CDMA can interoperate with the system. But does
the patent foreclose all possible methods of transcoding from an
input value to an output value? Then I'm back to webster's complaint
above, that patents have no place in standards.

Not forgetting that this material can be got from math textbooks,
and the USPTO's willful rejection of math education for patent
examiners has landed us in a sea of stupidity.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Copper-fastening the specific coding - WARNING: QUOTES ACTUAL PATENT CLAIMS
Authored by: macliam on Friday, March 15 2013 @ 08:04 AM EDT

In order to see how the patent claims are worded so as to lock down the coding, it is instructive to focus on claims 46 to 51 of the '348 patent:

46. A method for encoding a Transport Format Combination Indicator (TFCI) in a CDMA mobile communication system, comprising:
  • inputting TFCI information bits in a 10 bit unit;
  • generating, by a codeword generator, a codeword containing 32 bits based on the TFCI information bits; and
  • outputting the generated codeword,
wherein the codeword is generated by combining at least two basis sequences selected by the TFCI information bits from among all basis sequences available for encoding and all the basis sequences are mapped with the TFCI information bits in a 10 bit unit.
47. The method of claim 46, wherein all the basis sequences are 01010101010101010101010101010101, 00110011001100110011001100110011, 00001111000011110000111100001111, 00000000111111110000000011111111, 00000000000000001111111111111111, 11111111111111111111111111111111, 00101000011000111111000001110111, 00000001110011010110110111000111, 00001010111110010001101100101011 and 00011100001101110010111101010001.
48. The method of claim 47, wherein if the TFCI information bits are less than 10 bits, 0 is added to the TFCI information bits to represent the TFCI information bits in a 10 bit unit.
49. The method of claim 48, wherein the at least one basis sequence is selected by multiplying the TFCI information bits by their corresponding basis sequences.
50. The method of claim 49, further comprising the step of puncturing two bits from the 32 bits of codeword and outputting 30 bits of codeword.
51. The method of claim 50, wherein the output 30 bit codeword is at least one of 101010101010101101010101010101, 011001100110011011001100110011, 000111100001111000111100001111, 000000011111111000000011111111, 000000000000000111111111111111, 111111111111111111111111111111, 010100001100011111000001110111, 000000111001101110110111000111, 000101011111001001101100101011 and 001110000110111010111101010001.

I assume for the purpose of this discussion that the claims are valid. This requires that the claims be definite (so that it is possible to construe the claims), that the inventor has demonstrated enablement (requiring that the claims read on an embodiment disclosed in the specification, and that the specification discloses sufficient detail to enable the skilled artisan to make and use the invention), and that the claims do not read on prior art.

In order to determine whether at least one of these patent claims has been infringed by some method, whether implemented in hardware or software, it is necessary to focus on the language of the claims alone. It is an error to compare the alleged infringing method with the embodiment in the specification and then argue that the methods are sufficiently dissimilar that no infringement has occurred. Infringement is decided through construing the claims to determine the scope of the claims, and then determining whether or not the alleged infringing method falls within the scope of one of these specific claims 46 to 51.

In litigation, the parties will brief the judge on their interpretation of the terms of the claims, a Markman hearing will be held to discuss any issues or disputes that arise, and the judge will rule on the claim construction. The claims must be construed as broadly as is consistent with the wording of the claims and with the specification. This does not require that the claims should be limited to the properties of any particular embodiment (i.e., device or method) described within the specification. Indeed it is improper to attempt to construe claims by limiting them to embodiments of the invention specifically disclosed in the specification (except in the special case of means plus function claims).

One should start with claim 46. We have a method for encoding TFCI information bits in 10 bit units, and outputting a 32 bit codewords. It is surely appropriate here to construe TFCI information as consisting of a list or array of bit sequences, where each member of the list is an input word consisting of exactly 10 binary bits, and where each such input word is converted to an output codeword consisting of exactly 32 binary bits. This is surely a task that one might reasonably program a digital computer to perform, and therefore the claims would read on any hardware or software implemention of the coding scheme that satisfies the claim limitations.

One can presume that neither Samsung nor the PTO discovered any prior art that reads on claim 46, and, in particular, implementing the method in accordance with all the claim limitations listed in the wherein clause of claim 46. (The fact that error-correcting codes are well-known in the art, and that there are well-understood families of such codes is irrelevant for the purposes of determining infringement under claim 46 unless there is some specific prior art reference or combination of prior art references that teaches the limitations of the specific claim.) In particular, any invalidating prior art must involve combining at least two of the basis sequences, and ensuring that all the base sequences are mapped in a 10-bit unit in accordance with the claim construction.

Maybe some prior art will be discovered after the patent has issued that will invalidate claim 46. If so the scope of these claims will be determined by at least one of claims 47 to 51, unless there is prior art that invalidates all of 46 to 51. Thus the claims will survive in some form unless and until claim 51 has itself been invalidated.

Well, maybe claim 46 does read on prior art not known to the PTO when the patent issued. If so, the scope of the claim will narrow to encodings using the specific 10 basis sequences listed in claim 47.

If there is prior art for which the input words are not padded, then the scope of the claims will narrow to claim 48, that covers all codings of the required where input words with fewer than 10 bits are padded with zeros.

To guard against the situation where a lawyer or judge would seek to restrict the claims to methods that output 32-bit words alone, claim 50 ensures that a method that subsequently discards two bits and outputs 30-bit words also infringes.

Finally there is claim 51, which reads on any method that satisfies the limitations of claim 50, which translates 10-bit TFCIs to 30-bit codewords. Now the 1024 possible TFCI words must map to distinct 30-bit codewords. There are 1073741824 such codewords to choose from. Any method within the scope of claim 50 which includes the 10 specific codewords stated in claim 51 will infringe.

Note that, in all of this discussion, there is no discussion of inventiveness, and no discussion as to whether or not the invention described in the claims is a straightforward application of basic methods described in standard textbooks on coding theory and taught at university. It is the specifics of the claims and any prior art that determine whether or not the claims are valid, and whether or not they are infringed.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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