Apple Fails English Grammar Test at Federal Circuit

The term “fields” requires more than one field

In trying to reverse the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s upholding of MPH Technologies Oy patent in an inter partes review (IPR), Apple tried to convince the Federal Circuit that “there is a presumption that a plural term covers one or more items.” The Federal Circuit rejected that presumption, noting instead, “[i]n accordance with common English usage,” “a plural term refers to two or more items.”

In other grammar disputes, the Federal Circuit affirmed a finding that “substitute” meant “changing or modifying, not merely adding to.” Apple was also unable to convince the panel that “configured to modify the translation table entry address fields” limitation is purely functional and does not require having existing address fields in the translation table to modify.

Apple was also unable to convince the Federal Circuit that, when a sender sends a message to an address, it is also sending the message to a second address that the destination uses to relay the message. And the Federal Circuit reminded Apple that the PTAB “was free to reject Apple’s expert’s testimony based on a lack of factual support.”

The net result is that the validity of all challenged claims in MPH’s patent was affirmed.