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Bradium Technologies LLC v. Iancu

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

May 13, 2019

BRADIUM TECHNOLOGIES LLC, Appellant
v.
ANDREI IANCU, UNDER SECRETARY OF COMMERCE FOR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND DIRECTOR OF THE UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE, Intervenor

          Appeals from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Patent Trial and Appeal Board in Nos. IPR2016-00448, IPR2016-00449.

          Michael Shanahan, Bradium Technologies, LLC, Suf-fern, NY, argued for appellant.

          Michael S. Forman, Office of the Solicitor, United States Patent and Trademark Office, Alexandria, VA, argued for intervenor. Also represented by Thomas W. Krause, Joseph Matal, Brian Racilla, Farheena Yasmeen Rasheed.

          Before Moore, Reyna, and Chen, Circuit Judges.

          Reyna, Circuit Judge.

         In this consolidated appeal, Bradium Technologies LLC appeals final written decisions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board finding the claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7, 908, 343 and 8, 924, 506 unpatentable as obvious in two inter partes review proceedings. Because the Board did not err in construing the relevant claim terms and because substantial evidence supports the Board's decision, we affirm.

         Background

         I. The Patents at Issue

         Bradium Technologies LLC ("Bradium") is the assignee of U.S. Patent Nos. 7, 908, 343 ("the '343 patent") and 8, 924, 506 ("the '506 patent"), both entitled "Optimized Image Delivery over Limited Bandwidth Communication Channels." The '506 patent is a continuation-in-part of the '343 patent. Both patents have similar written descrip-tions.[1]

         The patents are broadly directed to retrieving large-scale images over network communication channels in low-bandwidth conditions and to displaying such images on client devices with limited processing power. The preferred embodiment of the invention includes an image server and a client device connected to each other over a network. The image server stores high-resolution and often three-dimensional ("3D") map or satellite imagery of geographic regions. This high-resolution source image data is pre-processed by the image server to create a series of derivative copies of the image of progressively lower resolution. Each of the derivative images is subdivided into an array of fixed-size, discrete sections, which the shared written description calls "image parcels." The image parcels are stored on the image server in a file of predefined configuration, such that any image parcel can be located within a series of Ki-n derivative images by specifying an address Kd, X, Y, where subscript D is the image resolution index, and X and Y are the corresponding image array coordinates. Figure 2 illustrates this process:

(Image Omitted)

'343 patent, Fig. 2.

         The preferred embodiment also includes a client device on which a user views the images sent by the image server. The user is presented with a 3D field of view (the viewing frustum) of the image, and can use navigational controls to change her view of the image in any direction, modeling flyover navigation of the image. As the user's field of view changes, a different portion of the image needs to be retrieved from the image server and displayed in high resolution. To do so, the client device determines the priority of the image parcels to be requested from the server based on the user's field of view and requests the image parcels from the image server. The image parcel requests are placed in a queue and issued in priority order. In the preferred embodiment, the image data is then transmitted from the image server to the client device using the TCP/IP network protocol, with each network packet containing one image parcel.

         Request priority may be based on the resolution of image parcels such that, "[i]n general, image parcels with lower resolution levels will accumulate greater priority values." '343 patent col. 10 ll. 6-8. This priority "generally assures that a complete image of at least low resolution will be available for rendering." Id. col. 10 ll. 12-14. Closer to the user's viewpoint, however, higher-resolution image parcels are prioritized, rendering the portion of the image that the user is actively observing at a higher level of detail. Id. col. 10 ll. 15-21.

         The shared written description explains that this method optimizes image delivery and display, while minimizing network latency, and solves the problem in the prior art of transmitting large-scale images over networks with lower bandwidth connections. According to the shared written description, "[s]uch limited bandwidth conditions may exist due to either the direct technological constraints dictated by the use of a low bandwidth data channel or indirect constraints imposed on relatively high-bandwidth channels by high concurrent user loads." '343 patent col. 3 ll. 9-14. The shared written description further states that the claimed invention "provide[s] an efficient system and methods of optimally presenting image data on client systems with potentially limited processing performance, resources, and communications bandwidth." Id. col. 3 ll. 40- 44.

         The term "limited bandwidth communications channel" is at issue on appeal. Independent claim 13 of the '343 patent is representative. It recites:

13. A display system for displaying a large-scale image retrieved over a limited bandwidth communications channel, said display system comprising: a display of defined screen resolution for displaying a defined image;
a memory providing for the storage of a plurality of image parcels displayable over respective portions of a mesh corresponding to said defined image;
a communications channel interface supporting the retrieval of a defined data parcel over a limited bandwidth communications channel;
a processor coupled between said display, memory and communications channel interface, said processor operative to select said defined data parcel, retrieve said defined data parcel via said limited bandwidth communications channel interface for storage in said memory, and render said defined data parcel over a discrete portion of said mesh to provide for a progressive resolution enhancement of said defined image on said display; and
a remote computer, coupled to the limited bandwidth communications channel, that delivers the defined data parcel wherein delivering the defined data parcel further comprises processing source image data to obtain a series K1-N of derivative images of progressively lower image resolution and wherein series image K0 being subdivided into a regular array wherein each resulting image parcel of the array has a predetermined pixel resolution wherein image data has a color or bit per pixel depth representing a data parcel size of a predetermined number of bytes, resolution of the series K1-N of derivative images being related to that of the source image data or predecessor image in the series by a factor of two, and said array subdivision being related by a factor of two such that each image parcel being of a fixed byte size, wherein the processing further comprises compressing each data parcel and storing each data parcel on the remote computer in a file of defined configuration such that a data parcel can be located by specification of a KD, X, Y value that represents the data set resolution index D and corresponding image array coordinate.

'343 patent col. 12 l. 38-col. 13 l. 10.

         Claim 15 of the '343 patent, which depends from claim 13, describes prioritization. It recites:

15. The display system of claim 13, wherein said processor is operative to prioritize the retrieval of said data parcel among a plurality of selected data parcels pending retrieval, wherein the relative priority of the data parcel is based on the difference in the resolution of the image parcel and the resolution of said plurality of selected data parcels.

Id. col. 13 ll. 16-21.

         The claimed step of "associating a prioritization value" is at issue on appeal. Claim 10 of the '343 patent, which depends from claim 1, is representative. Together, these claims recite:

1. A method of retrieving large-scale images over network communications channels for display on a limited communication bandwidth computer device, said method comprising:
issuing, from a limited communication bandwidth computer device to a remote computer, a request for an update data parcel wherein the update data parcel is selected based on an operator controlled image viewpoint on the computer device relative to a predetermined image and the update data parcel contains data that is used to generate a display on the limited communication bandwidth computer device
. . . .
10. The method of claim 1, wherein issuing the request for an update data parcel further comprises preparing the request by associating a prioritization value to said request, wherein said prioritization value is based on the resolution of said update data parcel relative to that of other data parcels previously received by the limited communication bandwidth computer device, and wherein issuing said request is responsive to said prioritization value for issuing said request in a predefined prioritization order.

Id. col. 11 ll. 24-34, col. 12 ll. 22-30.

         The claimed step of "queuing the update data parcels on the remote computer based on an importance of the update data parcel as determined by the remote computer" is at issue on appeal. Claim 6 of the '506 patent, which depends from claim 1, is representative. Together, these claims recite:

1. A method of retrieving large-scale images over network communications channels for display on a limited communication bandwidth computer device, said method comprising:
. . .
processing, on the remote computer, source image data to obtain a series K1-N of derivative images of progressively lower image resolution and wherein series image K0 being subdivided into a regular array wherein each resulting image parcel of the array has a predetermined pixel resolution wherein image data has a color or bit per pixel depth representing a data parcel size of a predetermined number of bytes, resolution of the series K1-N of derivative images being related to that of the source image data or predecessor image in the series ...

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