Vicor and SynQor Split Recent Decisions in Patent Dispute

April 29, 2015 by Jeff Shepard

On April 24, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., issued an order denying the petition by SynQor, Inc. for panel rehearing of the Court's March 13, 2015, decision invalidating certain claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,072,190, which SynQor has asserted against Vicor Corporation and Cisco Systems, Inc. in litigation currently pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The Federal Circuit's March 13th decision reversed a prior decision of the United States Patent and Trademark Office's Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that had found the same claims patentable in an inter partes reexamination proceeding initiated by Vicor. The Federal Circuit's April 24th order confirms its earlier ruling that prior art anticipated key claims of the '190 patent and may render the remaining claims invalid as obvious.

Earlier last week, on April 20, 2015, the PTAB issued a decision in the inter partes reexamination of SynQor's U.S. Patent No. 7,564,702 that reversed the patent examiners' prior rejection of all claims in that patent. Vicor believes this decision, like the PTAB's prior decision concerning the '190 patent, misapprehends relevant prior art because of misrepresentations by SynQor. Vicor intends to vigorously contest this ruling, through a motion for reconsideration and/or an appeal to the Federal Circuit.

In a statement, SynQor commented on the April 20th announcement: In its decision, the PTAB rejected Vicor’s challenge to the validity of the '702 Patent and reversed all of the Examiner’s claim rejections, including the four claims of the '702 Patent asserted against Cisco Systems and Vicor in the above cases. The Decision on Appeal is the first time the PTAB has considered a reexamination of any of the SynQor IBA Patents since the Federal Circuit’s March 13 decision in Vicor Corporation v. SynQor, Inc.

The PTAB commented at that time: "The weight of the objective evidence, combined with the technical difficulties in implementing the proposed combinations of references adopted from the Request by the Examiner, lead us to the conclusion that the claims at issue would not have been obvious to one of only ordinary skill in the art at the time the invention was made."

In a written statement on the April 24th Federal Circuit's denial of SynQor's petition, Dr. Patrizio Vinciarelli, Vicor's Chief Executive Officer, stated, "For years SynQor has sought to prevent competition in the market for Intermediate Bus Architecture (IBA) components, by patenting concepts that were already well known in the field of power electronics, and by asserting its patents against Vicor's fundamentally different and technically superior bus converter products. The Federal Circuit's affirmation that key claims of the '190 patent were anticipated by prior art belies SynQor's claim to have invented IBA and validates Vicor's determination to confront SynQor's abuse of the patent system and of patent litigation to suppress competition from superior products known not to infringe. We look forward to future rulings rejecting the validity of the remaining claims in SynQor's family of bogus patents, and its groundless patent infringement claims against Vicor."

During an earnings conference call on April 28th, Dr. Vinciarelli added: “Our adversary may be trying to confuse what’s going on. From our perspective, it is quite clear. Last quarter we had a major milestone. The companies that Synqor attacked in the earlier litigation failed with respect to arguing invalidity. We succeeded.

“At the Twelfth Circuit Court, the highest court with regard to patents, the first patent in the family of patents is clearly invalid. The other patents are all based fundamentally on the same concept. And these patents are going down the drain. This has been a significant distraction and cost. Our goal is to invalidate all these patents before they expire. In any case, we don’t infringe them,” Dr. Vinciarelli concluded.