Rovalma, S.A. v. Bohler-Edelstahl GMBH & Co. KG, No. 16-2233 (Fed. Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Patent Board did not adequately explain why it accepted patent holder’s claim construction, but nonetheless found the claims unpatentable. Rovalma’s patent describes and claims methods for making steels with certain desired thermal conductivities. Böhler petitioned the Patent Trial and Appeal Board for an inter partes review of claims 1–4 of the patent. The Board instituted a review, rejected Böhler’s construction of the claims, and adopted Rovalma’s construction. Böhler had not submitted arguments or evidence for unpatentability based on Rovalma’s construction. Nevertheless, the Board determined that Rovalma’s own submissions demonstrated that the claims, construed as Rovalma urged, would have been obvious to a relevant skilled artisan over the same prior art that Böhler invoked. The Federal Circuit vacated, stating that the Board did not set forth its reasoning in sufficient detail for determination what inferences it drew from Rovalma’s submissions, making it impossible to determine whether the Board’s decision was substantively supported and procedurally proper.