Patent Trial and Appeal Board Confirms Patent Challenge by PCT International

MINNEAPOLIS (September 2014) -- The United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has found all 16 challenged claims of Amphenol’s U.S. Patent No. 7,544,094 (’094 patent) to be unpatentable. Patent challenger PCT International, a leading worldwide developer and manufacturer of last mile and access network solutions for broadband communication networks, maintained the patent was invalid, a position the PTAB has now confirmed. The patent at issue involves a connector assembly with a gripping sleeve for tightening electrical connectors. Sleeves are commonly used to securely connect coaxial cable connectors to electrical equipment such as televisions or cable set top boxes.

In PCT International Inc., v. Amphenol Corporation, IPR2013-00229, Paper 30 (PTAB September 11, 2014), the PTAB found that most of the challenged claims were anticipated, and all of them were obvious. 

In a 2013 suit, Amphenol had accused PCT of infringing the ’094 Patent.  PCT denied the claim,  and in April 2013 filed a challenge to the patent’s validity using the Patent Office’s new inter partes review (IPR) procedure.  Amphenol’s lawsuit was then stayed pending a decision by the PTAB.

“We are grateful that the PTAB confirmed the full sweep of all challenged claims as unpatentable. The IPR avoided unnecessary time and expenses that would have prolonged this litigation and was the best option for this patent claim challenge,” said Cyrus Morton, Chair of the firm’s Patent Office Trials Group and counsel for PCT.

Steve Youtsey, Chairman of PCT, said, “PCT prides itself on innovation, and we believed all along that that Amphenol’s claim was without merit. We are pleased to see our position vindicated.”

PCT was represented in the IPR by firm lawyers Cyrus Morton and Miles Finn, Ph.D., and lead counsel in the litigation is Chris Larus, Chair of the Minneapolis IP and Technology Litigation Group.