In re NTP, Inc., No. 10-1243 (Fed. Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
The seven rejected patent claims describe a system for sending information (such as electronic mail) from an originating processor (i.e., a personal computer) to a destination processor (i.e., a mobile computer) using an intermediary (a radio frequency receiver). Prior art systems required connection to a public switched phone line and were limited by difficulty in locating a phone jack. The inventors set out to solve this problem by introducing a radio frequency network. The Board of Patent Appeals affirmed. The Federal Circuit vacated in part, reversed in part and remanded. The Board’s construction of the term "electronic mail [message]" was unreasonably broad, but the Board correctly found that the applicant failed to "swear behind" certain references (37 C.F.R. 1.131) and corroborate its claim that the system was reduced to practice prior to the "critical date" on which it appeared in print.