Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services lands the final punch in its data compression patent fight
Written by Fatima Amedu on 14 January 2019« Return to Reading Room
On Thursday 10 January 2019, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the decision by the US Patent and Trade Mark Office, Patent Trial and Appeal board.
In April 2016, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (“HPE”) and Teradata Operations petitioned for the review of the patentability of some of the claims made by Realtime’s 812 patent (No. 6,597,812). The 812 patent had 30 claims in total but HPE and Teradata had issues relating to 11 of those claims.
Realtime’s 812 patent related to “systems and methods for providing lossless data compression that exploit various characteristics of run-length encoding, parametric dictionary encoding, and bit packing”. 
“Run-encoding and dictionary encoding are forms of data compression. Dictionary encoding assigns a code word to a specific data string, while run-encoding replaces a “run” of characters with an identifier for each individual character and the number of times it is repeated.”
HPE claimed that those 11 claims made by Realtime’s 812 patent would have been obvious due to the prior materials available. HPE alleged that six of the claims would have been transparent due to the US patent 946 (No. 4, 929, 946) (this related to adaptive data compression apparatus).
HPE made further allegations regarding five more of Realtime’s claims. It stated that these five claims would have been obvious due a well-known textbook called ‘The Data Compression Book, and US patent 302 (No. 4,558, 302). This contained details of “high speed data compression and decompression apparatus and method.”
Realtime had stated that the judge erred in its assessment by using the criterion of whether a person of ordinary skill in the art would have known to combine the teachings of the 946 patent and the textbook. Nevertheless, the court reaffirmed that it has been long established that when someone is claiming that a “combination of references renders a patented invention obvious…it has to “consider the factual questions of whether a person of ordinary skill in the art would be motivated to combine those references”. As a result, the court felt that a person of ordinary skill would have looked at the relevant Data Compression book as it was well known.
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