The Federal Circuit reversed and remanded the decision of the PTAB finding the asserted claims to be obvious due to the PTAB’s erroneous construction for the term “reside around.” The claims at issue relate to coaxial cables and the term “reside around” referred to the relation of a “nut contact portion” to the connector body. Relying on the broadest dictionary definition out of those it considered, the PTAB construed “reside around” to mean “in the immediate vicinity of; near.” The court held that this construction was “unreasonably broad” in light of the patent claims and specification. The PTAB is required to give claims their broadest reasonable interpretation consistent with the specification. Thus, when viewing the use of the term “around” in the specification, the court concluded that this term was used to relate to encircling or surrounding, not merely “near.” The court further rejected Corning’s argument that this construction covered fewer than all of the disclosed embodiments and therefore could not be the broadest reasonable interpretation, because it is not correct that the broadest reasonable interpretation must cover the must embodiments.
PPC Broadband, Inc. v. Corning Optical Communications RF, LLC, Case No. 2015-1364 (February 22, 2016); Opinion by: Moore, joined by O’Malley and Wallach; Appealed From: United States Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Read the full opinion here.