GoPro, INC. v. Contour IP Holding, LLC, No. 17-1894 (Fed. Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Contour’s patents describe action sport video cameras or camcorders, configured for remote image acquisition control and viewing. The claimed device uses GPS technology and includes wireless communication capability to allow another device, such as a smartphone, to control camera settings in real time, access stored video, and act as a “viewfinder” to preview what the camera sees. The patents claim priority to a provisional application filed in September 2010; the one-year critical date is September 13, 2009. GoPro sought inter partes review of the patents, alleging unpatentability on obviousness grounds, relying on a 2009 GoPro sales catalog as prior art. That catalog discloses a digital camera linked to a wireless viewfinder/controller. There was testimony that the catalog was distributed at a July 2009 trade show with approximately 150 vendors and more than 1,000 attendees. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board concluded that the catalog is not a prior art printed publication under 35 U.S.C. 102(b). The Federal Circuit vacated. A dealer show focused on extreme sports vehicles is an obvious forum for action sports cameras; while the general public may not have been aware of the trade show, dealers would encompass the relevant audience such that a person ordinarily skilled and interested in action cameras, exercising reasonable diligence, should have been aware of it. The catalog was disseminated with no restrictions and was intended to reach the general public.