South Korea-based company Hyundai Mobis, the parts and services arm of companies including Hyundai, has been handed a mixed verdict by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Handed down yesterday, the Federal Circuit’s ruling reversed in part and affirmed in part a decision from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that claims of a patent owned by Autoliv, a supplier of automotive safety systems, were
The patent, US number 7,614,653, is called “Pre-folded airbag cushion with optional venting for out-of-position conditions”.
The board found claims 1–3, 6, 20–22, 25–30, 33–37, and 40 of the patent to be obvious in light of the prior art.
On appeal, Autoliv challenged the PTAB’s obviousness findings for claims 27, 34, and 40, which require a fixed vent that is “adapted to vent gas during airbag deployment with and without obstruction”.
The board had found that the “fixed vent” limitation was disclosed by Tajima (Japanese patent publication number JP2003-137060).
The Federal Circuit agreed with Autoliv, holding that the board erred in its finding and remanded that part of the case.
According to the court, the board also erred in finding the “diffuser” limitation obvious based on Tajima.
Autoliv also challenged the board’s obviousness decision on claims 1–3, 6, 20–22, 25, and 28–30.
The claims recite a “releasable temporary holding feature that holds the folds of the airbag cushion membrane in place before deployment”.
According to the court, the PTAB adopted Autoliv’s proposed construction for a “releasable temporary holding feature”.
Autoliv attempted to narrow the application of its preferred construction but the board declined to import “improperly a limitation from a preferred embodiment into the claims”.
Based on the PTAB’s claim construction, the prior art references disclose this claim limitation, the Federal Circuit said.
Because of this, the court affirmed the PTAB’s decision.