is titled “High-Efficiency Display System Utilizing an Optical Element to Reshape Light with Color and Brightness Uniformity.” There were a total of six IPR proceedings, all challenging the validity of his claims.
One of the key claims of Gene’s being attacked reads as follows: “69. A display system comprising: a light source; an element capable of having an image formed thereon, said element having a predetermined shape; and means for enhancing the brightness of an image by shaping a beam illuminating said image-forming element such that the shape of the beam substantially matches the shape of the said image-forming element, wherein said enhancing means also includes a Fresnel polarizer means.”
The PTAB quite erroneously misconstrued some of Gene’s claims. Instead of accepting what Gene wrote in the claim terminology “means for enhancing brightness, “means for focusing,” and “Fresnel polarizer,” the PTAB, in their infinite wisdom, assigned other definitions.
This is most interesting when one considers that Gene devised the terms, based on their functions, thus, his is the only meaning that could actually apply.
Concerning being obvious and based on prior art, Gene explained, “They found other patents by other companies that had some similarity to some part of this. They said, ‘well, you see this, this, this, this, this, this, all these different things, you just take all those, put it together, and then we got yours’.”
However, he added, “My innovation was to put all these different things together that didn’t exist at the time. And to add some new things that never existed. And they ignored that. … So the PTAB then invalidated my claims.”
Despite the fact his invention was based on things that “didn’t exist at the time” (the patent was granted) and things that “never existed.”
It was a long, arduous fight and eventually ended in a settlement. The killer was that in the settlement were two final decisions issued by the PTAB basically stating that all of Gene’s asserted claims, invented, declared, and written, were unpatentable.
A very real travesty concerning inventors, like Gene, and their patents is that the PTAB was established by the optimistically sounding America Invents Act of 2011, which unfortunately lacks clarity, provides ambiguity, and contains numerous loopholes. Since its inception in 2012, the PTAB has invalidated thousands of patents that had been previously issued by the highly trained and skilled US Patent and Trademark Office patent examiners, often after years of review.
Yet, these PTAB Administrative Patent Judges – who are not actual judges – having virtually no training nor skill in patent review, especially when it comes to breakthrough technology, overturn the examiner’s determination of patentability.
Thus, Big tech and large conglomerates with virtually unlimited resources have been able to file multiple IPRs against patents which they could license, but, instead, decide to steal and, consequently in many cases, destroy an inventor’s life and life’s work.