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Power Integrations, Inc. v. Lee

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

August 12, 2015

POWER INTEGRATIONS, INC., Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
MICHELLE K. LEE, DIRECTOR, U.S. PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE, Defendant-Appellee

As Amended August 31, 2015.

Page 1319

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in No. 1:11-cv-01254-BJR, Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein.

HOWARD G. POLLACK, Fish & Richardson, P.C., Redwood City, CA, argued for plaintiff-appellant. Also represented by MICHAEL R. HEADLEY; CRAIG E. COUNTRYMAN, San Diego, CA; FRANK SCHERKENBACH, Boston, MA.

AMY J. NELSON, Office of the Solicitor, United States Patent and Trademark Office, Alexandria, VA, argued for defendant-appellee. Also represented by NATHAN K. KELLEY, SCOTT WEIDENFELLER.

Before MOORE, MAYER, and LINN, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1320

Mayer, Circuit Judge.

Power Integrations, Inc. (" Power Integrations" ) challenges a decision of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (" board" ) affirming the rejection of claims 1, 17, 18, and 19 of U.S. Patent No. 6,249,876 (the " '876 patent" ) as anticipated under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b). See Ex parte Power Integrations, Inc., No. 2010-011021, 2010 WL 5244756 (B.P.A.I. Dec. 22, 2010) (" Power Integrations III " ). For the reasons discussed below, we vacate and remand.

Background

The '876 patent is entitled " Frequency Jittering Control for Varying the Switching Frequency of a Power Supply." It is directed to a technique for reducing electromagnetic interference by jittering the switching frequency of a switched mode power supply. See '876 patent col.1 ll.66-67. Claim 1, as amended, recites:

A digital frequency jittering circuit for varying the switching frequency of a power supply, comprising:
an oscillator for generating a signal having a switching frequency, the oscillator having a control input for varying the switching frequency;
a digital to analog converter coupled to the control input for varying the switching frequency; and

a counter coupled to the output of the oscillator, the digital to analog converter coupled to the counter, the counter causing the digital to analog converter to adjust the control input and to vary the switching frequency of the power supply.

J.A. 710.

Claims 17, 18, and 19 relate to a method for varying the switching frequency using a varying voltage to control the oscillator. '876 Patent col.9 ll.37-52. Independent claim 17, as amended, requires " cycling a counter" to generate a secondary voltage that varies over time:

A method for generating a switching frequency in a power conversion ...

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