Patch me if you can: Microsoft, Samsung, and Google win appeal over patent on remote updating
Iron Oak fails to convince the Feds that Patent Board misinterpreted key phrase in the patent
Samsung, Microsoft, and Google have prevailed at US Federal Appeal Court [PDF] in a patent battle with Iron Oak Technologies.
The trio won the appeal after Iron Oak challenged an earlier Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) ruling on patent 5,699,275, which describes a method for remotely delivering operating system upgrades. Iron Oak is currently pursuing claims against all three of the tech giants in Texas courts, and yesterday's nonprecedential decision could affect that.
Named “system and method for remote patching of operating code located in a mobile unit,“ the 1995 patent describes a method in which a central server could transmit an operating system patch to a remote computer through a communications network. The remote machine would then merge the patch with the underlying operating system and switch to the updated code.
According to public records, Iron Oaks Technologies acquired the patent in 2014 from its previous holder, Fundamental Wireless LLC.
In 2018, the trio collectively and individually [PDF] challenged the patent's validity at the PTAB, where it was subsequently ruled as “unpatentable” due to the existence of prior art.
Separately, the board also found that the patent was “obvious” and could be created by combining with existing prior art from four other patents registered in the US, Australia, and Japan.
Iron Oak Technologies had argued the board erred in their interpretation of this prior art, saying it failed to consider a timing mechanism described in its patent. This allows the host system to pick the remote device that should be prioritised for patching.
The three-judge panel at the US Federal Appeal Court said Iron Oak had further contended "that the Board confused the mobile units' operability to receive updates with the manager host’s operability to decide to which units to send the updates," and ruled: "The Board did not misunderstand."
The appeals court was unconvinced. "We see no reversible error in the board's analysis."
"Iron Oak's arguments based on the claim language, the Board’s construction, dependent claims, and the specification are unpersuasive." ®