Apple Inc. v. Andrea Electronics Corp., No. 18-2382 (Fed. Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Andrea sued Apple for infringement of Andrea’s 345 patent, relating to certain aspects of digital audio processing. Apple filed two inter partes review (IPR) petitions. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board instituted review. In its 626 IPR Final Written Decision, the Board concluded that, in light of prior art, several challenged claims were unpatentable. The Board declined to consider certain arguments in Apple’s reply brief because Apple was raising new arguments in its reply brief. In its 627 Decision, the Board concluded that, in light of other cited art, several challenged claims are unpatentable. The Board construed the term “periodically” in favor of Andrea. Between the two IPRs, the Board held that all challenged claims except claims 6–9 are unpatentable.
The Federal Circuit vacated with respect to the 626 IPR; the Board erred in refusing to consider Apple’s reply arguments. Apple’s reply does not cite any new evidence or “unidentified portions” of the reference at issue but merely demonstrates another example of the same algorithm to further explain why the reference discloses the “current minimum” and “future minimum” limitations of claims 6–9. Apple’s reply arguments are responsive to arguments raised in Andrea’s Patent Owner Response. The petitioner in an IPR may introduce new evidence after the petition stage if the evidence is a legitimate reply to evidence introduced by the patent owner. The court affirmed with respect to the 627 IPR, finding the decision supported by substantial evidence.