Case: 20-1589 Document: 61 Page: 1 Filed: 07/27/2021
`United States Court of Appeals
`for the Federal Circuit
`2020-1589, 2020-1590, 2020-1591, 2020-1592, 2020-1593,
`Appeals from the United States Patent and Trademark
`Office, Patent Trial and Appeal Board in Nos. IPR2018-
`01326, IPR2018-01327, IPR2018-01328, IPR2018-01329,
`IPR2018-01330, IPR2018-01340.
`Decided: July 27, 2021
`ISRAEL SASHA MAYERGOYZ, Jones Day, Chicago, IL, ar-
`gued for appellant. Also represented by ROBERT BREETZ,


`Case: 20-1589 Document: 61 Page: 2 Filed: 07/27/2021
`ington, DC.
` LOUIS W. TOMPROS, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and
`Dorr LLP, Boston, MA, argued for appellee. Also repre-
`ton, DC.
` MEREDITH HOPE SCHOENFELD, Office of the Solicitor,
`United States Patent and Trademark Office, Alexandria,
`VA, for intervenor. Also represented by THOMAS W.
` ______________________
`Before MOORE, Chief Judge, REYNA and STOLL, Circuit
`MOORE, Chief Judge.
`Qualcomm Inc. appeals six inter partes review final
`written decisions from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board
`determining that claims 1–15, 17–25, and 27–33 of U.S. Pa-
`tent No. 9,608,675 would have been obvious. We vacate
`and remand.
`The ’675 patent relates to techniques for generating a
`power tracking supply voltage for a circuit that processes
`multiple radio frequency signals simultaneously, using one
`power amplifier and one power tracking supply generator.
`’675 patent at 1:8–10, 35–40; 2:17–18; 6:20–27. It discloses
`a power tracker within a voltage generator that determines
`a power tracking signal based on the inphase (I) and quad-
`rature (Q) components of transmit signals being sent sim-
`ultaneously. Id. at 1:42–45. A power supply generator


`Case: 20-1589 Document: 61 Page: 3 Filed: 07/27/2021
`generates a power supply voltage based on the power track-
`ing signal. Id. at 1:45–47. The claimed invention purports
`to increase bandwidth, reduce the number of needed circuit
`components, reduce power consumption, improve the effi-
`ciency of power amplifiers, and provide other advantages.
`Id. at 6:6–27. Figure 5 shows an embodiment:
`The power tracker 582 receives samples of I and Q signals
`for all transmit signals to be sent simultaneously and com-
`putes the overall power of the transmit signals based on
`the samples. Id. at 6:63–67. It produces a power tracking
`signal that is used to generate a power supply voltage for
`the power amplifier (PA 560). Id. at 7:1–8. PA 560 uses
`the power supply voltage to amplify the modulated radio
`frequency (RF) signal from the summer 552 and provide an
`output RF signal for all transmit signals being sent simul-
`taneously. Id. at 7:9–14. Claims 1 and 28 are representa-
`1. An apparatus comprising:


`Case: 20-1589 Document: 61 Page: 4 Filed: 07/27/2021
`a power tracker configured to determine a
`single power tracking signal based on a
`plurality of inphase (I) and quadrature (Q)
`components of a plurality of carrier aggre-
`gated transmit signals being sent simulta-
`neously, wherein
`the power
`receives the plurality of I and Q compo-
`nents corresponding to the plurality of car-
`rier aggregated transmit signals and
`generates the single power tracking signal
`based on a combination of the plurality of I
`and Q components, wherein the plurality of
`carrier aggregated transmit signals com-
`prise Orthogonal Frequency Division Mul-
`(OFDM) or Single Carrier
`Frequency Division Multiple Access (SC-
`FDMA) signals;
`a power supply generator configured to
`generate a single power supply voltage
`based on the single power tracking signal;
`a power amplifier configured to receive the
`single power supply voltage and the plural-
`ity of carrier aggregated transmit signals
`being sent simultaneously to produce a sin-
`gle output radio frequency (RF) signal.
`28. An apparatus comprising:
`means for determining a single power
`tracking signal based on a plurality of
`inphase (I) and quadrature (Q) components
`of a plurality of carrier aggregated transmit
`signals being sent simultaneously, wherein
`a power tracker receives the plurality of I
`and Q components corresponding to the plu-
`rality of carrier aggregated transmit sig-
`nals and generates the single power


`Case: 20-1589 Document: 61 Page: 5 Filed: 07/27/2021
`tracking signal based on a combination of
`the plurality of I and Q components,
`wherein the plurality of carrier aggregated
`transmit signals comprise Orthogonal Fre-
`quency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) or
`Single Carrier Frequency Division Multiple
`Access (SC-FDMA) signals;
`means for generating a single power supply
`voltage based on the single power tracking
`signal; and
`means for receiving the single power sup-
`ply voltage and the plurality of carrier ag-
`gregated transmit signals being sent
`simultaneously and producing a single out-
`put radio frequency (RF) signal.
`(emphases added).
`Intel petitioned for six inter partes reviews (IPRs) chal-
`lenging the validity of the ’675 patent. In each petition,
`Intel proposed “a plurality of carrier aggregated transmit
`signals” means “signals for transmission on multiple carri-
`ers at the same time to increase the bandwidth for a user.”
`See, e.g., J.A. 1255 (emphasis added). Qualcomm proposed
`the following construction: “signals from a single terminal
`utilizing multiple component carriers which provide ex-
`tended transmission bandwidth for a user transmission
`from the single terminal.” See, e.g., J.A. 1414 (emphasis
`added). The parties never disputed that the signals were
`required to increase user bandwidth.1 In a parallel pro-
`ceeding before the International Trade Commission, the
`Commission’s construction of the term also included the in-
`creased bandwidth requirement. All briefing by both
`1 We discern no material difference between “signals
`increasing bandwidth” and “signals which extend band-
`width” for the purposes of this appeal.


`Case: 20-1589 Document: 61 Page: 6 Filed: 07/27/2021
`parties before the Board as well as the Commission’s con-
`struction, therefore, included an increased bandwidth re-
`quirement. On this matter of law, the parties agreed.
`After the parties completed all their briefing in the
`IPRs, during an approximately two-hour oral hearing be-
`fore the Board, one judge asked Intel a single question
`about increasing bandwidth:
`[Q:] What is the purpose, and where is the support,
`for requiring “to increase the bandwidth for a
`[A:] That’s a good question, Your Honor. . . . We . . .
`would be comfortable . . . if the Board were inclined
`to remove the bandwidth for a user portion of it. . . .
`J.A. 1649:1–17. Shortly thereafter, the same judge com-
`mented while asking Intel a question on simultaneous sig-
`nal transmission:
`[Q:] [I]f we were to construe a plurality of carrier
`aggregated transmit signals being sent simultane-
`ously, would you agree that the construction is sig-
`nals for transmission on multiple carriers at the
`same time? Potentially to increase the bandwidth
`for a user, you know, we’ll think about whether
`that’s necessary. But at least is that where the “at
`the same time” comes from?
`[A:] Yes, Your Honor.
`J.A. 1651:16–20 (emphasis added). Neither that judge nor
`the other two judges on the panel asked Qualcomm any
`questions about the increased bandwidth requirement. In
`sum, one judge asked one question about the increased
`bandwidth requirement, directed only at Intel, during the
`entire hearing. The next day, the Board, sua sponte, or-
`dered additional briefing on the meaning of the claim lan-
`guage “generates the single power tracking signal based on
`a combination of the plurality of I and Q components,” a


`Case: 20-1589 Document: 61 Page: 7 Filed: 07/27/2021
`topic that was extensively discussed at the hearing. J.A.
`1624. It never requested any briefing on the increased
`bandwidth requirement, a requirement that both parties
`agreed upon and to which the Board devoted little atten-
`tion at the hearing.
`Ultimately, the Board issued six final written decisions
`concluding that all challenged claims were unpatentable.
`In reaching its conclusion, the Board construed the term “a
`plurality of carrier aggregated transmit signals” in each as-
`serted claim to mean “signals for transmission on multiple
`carriers,” omitting any requirement that the signals in-
`crease or extend bandwidth. See, e.g., J.A. 23. Addition-
`ally, in the three decisions in which claim 28 or an
`associated dependent claim was at issue, the Board held
`that “means for determining a single power tracking signal
`. . .” (power tracker limitation) in claim 28 is a means-plus-
`function limitation and that “power tracker 582” is the cor-
`responding structure. See, e.g., J.A. 348–49. Qualcomm
` We have
`jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
`§ 1295(a)(4)(A).
`Qualcomm argues that it was not afforded notice of, or
`an adequate opportunity to respond to, the Board’s con-
`struction of “a plurality of carrier aggregated transmit sig-
`nals.” It also challenges the Board’s construction of the
`power tracker limitation for failing to include an algorithm
`in the corresponding structure.2 We agree the Board vio-
`lated Qualcomm’s procedural rights with respect to the
`“plurality of carrier aggregated transmit signals” limita-
`tion. We see no error, however, in the Board’s construction
`of the power tracker limitation in claim 28.
`In its opening brief to this Court, Qualcomm raised
`an Arthrex challenge, which it has subsequently with-


`Case: 20-1589 Document: 61 Page: 8 Filed: 07/27/2021
`“A patent owner in [an IPR] is undoubtedly entitled to
`notice of and a fair opportunity to meet the grounds of re-
`jection,” based on due process and Administrative Proce-
`dure Act (APA) guarantees. Belden Inc. v. Berk-Tek LLC,
`805 F.3d 1064, 1080 (Fed. Cir. 2015). For IPRs, “the APA
`imposes particular requirements on the PTO. The agency
`must ‘timely inform[ ]’ the patent owner of ‘the matters of
`fact and law asserted,’ 5 U.S.C. § 554(b)(3), must provide
`‘all interested parties opportunity for the submission and
`consideration of facts [and] arguments . . . [and] hearing
`and decision on notice,’ id. § 554(c), and must allow ‘a party
`. . . to submit rebuttal evidence . . . as may be required for
`a full and true disclosure of the facts,’ id. § 556(d).” Dell
`Inc. v. Acceleron, LLC, 818 F.3d 1293, 1301 (Fed. Cir. 2016)
`(alterations in original). Under the APA, we must “hold
`unlawful and set aside agency action . . . not in accordance
`with law [or] . . . without observance of procedure required
`by law.” 5 U.S.C. § 706.
`We have held that the Board may adopt a claim con-
`struction of a disputed term that neither party proposes
`without running afoul of the APA. See, e.g., Praxair Dis-
`trib., Inc. v. Mallinckrodt Hosp. Prods. IP Ltd., 890 F.3d
`1024, 1034 (Fed. Cir. 2018) (rejecting argument that Board
`violated patent owner’s “procedural rights by adopting a
`claim construction that neither party proposed”); Western-
`Geco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp., 889 F.3d 1308, 1328
`(Fed. Cir. 2018) (“The Board is not bound to adopt either
`party’s preferred articulated construction of a disputed
`claim term.”). Parties are well aware that the Board may
`stray from disputed, proposed constructions. See Western-
`Geco, 889 F.3d at 1328 (“Having put it at issue, Western-
`Geco was well aware that the Board could alter its
`construction in the final written decision.”). Unlike these
`cases, the issue of whether increased bandwidth was a re-
`quired part of the claim construction was not in dispute.


`Case: 20-1589 Document: 61 Page: 9 Filed: 07/27/2021
`The Board’s construction of “a plurality of carrier ag-
`gregated transmit signals” diverged from the agreed-upon
`increased bandwidth requirement for the term; it did not
`merely adopt its own construction of a disputed term. In
`SAS Institute, Inc. v. ComplementSoft, LLC., we explained
`that it was reasonable for the petitioner to rely on the
`Board’s institution decision claim interpretation because
`the patent owner “agreed with [that] interpretation in its
`patent owner’s response and never suggested that the
`Board adopt the construction that eventually materialized
`in the final written decision.” 825 F.3d 1341, 1351
`(Fed. Cir. 2016), rev’d on other grounds sub nom. SAS Inst.,
`Inc. v. Iancu, 138 S. Ct. 1348 (2018). We explained that it
`“is difficult to imagine either party anticipating that al-
`ready-interpreted terms were actually moving targets,”
`and, thus, it is unreasonable to expect parties to “have
`briefed or argued, in the alternative, hypothetical construc-
`tions not asserted by their opponent.” Id. Here, the patent
`owner agreed with the increased bandwidth requirement
`proposed by the petitioner. While the Board did not change
`theories midstream or depart from a construction it previ-
`ously adopted, it is still difficult to imagine either party an-
`this agreed-upon matter of claim
`construction was a moving target. And, unlike with dis-
`puted terms, it is unreasonable to expect parties to brief or
`argue agreed-upon matters of claim construction. This is
`particularly true here given that a separate agency (the
`Commission) had already adopted the increased band-
`width requirement for the claim term. Accordingly, under
`the circumstances of this case, the Board needed to provide
`notice of and an adequate opportunity to respond to its con-
`As a threshold matter, Intel argues that Qualcomm’s
`challenge fails because, assuming a procedural violation,
`Qualcomm has not demonstrated prejudice. Appellee’s Br.
`29–30. Next, Intel argues that the oral hearing provided


`Case: 20-1589 Document: 61 Page: 10 Filed: 07/27/2021
`Qualcomm notice and an opportunity to respond. Lastly,
`Intel argues Qualcomm’s option to move for rehearing pro-
`vided an adequate opportunity to respond. Id. at 27–29.
`We take each argument in turn.
`Assuming arguendo that Qualcomm must show preju-
`dice,3 it has made an adequate showing. Qualcomm argued
`throughout the IPR proceedings that the prior art did not
`disclose the increased bandwidth requirement. See, e.g.,
`J.A. 1425, 1438–39, 7766–67, 7780–81, 7853–57. By re-
`moving that requirement, the Board eliminated an element
`on which Intel bore the burden of proof. The Board’s deci-
`sion to eschew an agreed-upon requirement without notice
`prejudiced Qualcomm. Further, without notice of the
`Board’s elimination of the increased bandwidth require-
`ment, Qualcomm had no reason to brief that requirement
`or establish an evidentiary record supporting it, particu-
`larly given the limited word count and breadth of issues in
`these IPRs. Thus, Qualcomm has made an adequate show-
`ing of prejudice.
`Likewise, we are not persuaded that the hearing pro-
`vided adequate notice. The single question-answer ex-
`change between one judge and Intel regarding the
`increased bandwidth requirement, followed by that judge’s
`offhand comment that the panel would “think about
`whether that’s necessary,” did not provide Qualcomm no-
`tice that the Board might depart from the increased band-
`width requirement. See J.A. 1649:1–17; 1651:17–20. The
`Intel cites WesternGeco, 889 F.3d at 1329, to assert
`Qualcomm’s APA challenge requires a showing of preju-
`dice. See Appellee’s Br. 29. We need not address whether
`WesternGeco requires such a showing because Qualcomm
`was prejudiced here.


`Case: 20-1589 Document: 61 Page: 11 Filed: 07/27/2021
`Board did not announce a construction, criticize the par-
`ties’ agreed-upon requirement, ask any follow-up questions
`to Intel, or ask any related questions to Qualcomm. Even
`after the hearing, the Board sua sponte issued an order re-
`questing additional briefing on a completely separate claim
`term with no mention of the agreed-upon increased band-
`width requirement. Under the facts of this case, the
`Board’s actions failed to provide notice that it would depart
`from the agreed-upon increased bandwidth requirement.
`Intel likens this case to TQ Delta, LLC v. DISH Net-
`work LLC, in which we held the patent owner had adequate
`notice of the Board’s sua sponte construction of a claim
`term in its final written decision. 929 F.3d 1350, 1354–56
`(Fed. Cir. 2019). There, however, the patent owner argued
`for a narrow interpretation for the term in its Patent
`Owner Response and, during the hearing, the Board “re-
`peatedly asked [the patent owner] about its narrow con-
`struction of the term and explained that it disagreed with
`[its] interpretation.” Id. at 1355–56. Thus, the patent
`owner’s own pre-argument filing recognized a dispute as to
`the term which was explored extensively at oral argument.
`Neither of these circumstances is present here. Intel and
`Qualcomm agreed upon the increased bandwidth require-
`ment throughout the briefing, and there was no exchange
`at all between the Board and Qualcomm about the in-
`creased bandwidth requirement. The comparison to this
`case is further misplaced given the Board’s day-after order
`requesting additional briefing on completely unrelated
`claim language.
`The hearing also did not provide an adequate oppor-
`tunity to respond. Dell Inc. v. Acceleron, LLC is instructive.
`There, the parties disputed whether Hipp, a key prior art
`reference, anticipated several challenged claims. 818 F.3d
`at 1296. Although the parties had briefed anticipation, the
`petitioner asserted for the first time at the hearing that
`Figure 12 of Hipp disclosed a required element of a chal-
`lenged claim. Id. at 1297, 1301. Based upon this assertion


`Case: 20-1589 Document: 61 Page: 12 Filed: 07/27/2021
`at the hearing, the Board’s final written decision found that
`Hipp’s Figure 12 anticipated the challenged claim. Id. at
`1298. Although the patent owner was questioned about
`Figure 12 at the hearing, we held the patent owner did not
`have an adequate opportunity to respond because the hear-
`ing presented “no opportunity for [the patent owner] to
`supply evidence, whether expert or lay or documentary ev-
`idence.” Id. at 1301.
`The hearing in this case provided even less opportunity
`to respond. Unlike the issue of anticipation in Dell, the
`parties here agreed on the increased bandwidth require-
`ment. And at the hearing, the Board failed to provide any
`theory or rationale for its departure from the agreed-upon
`requirement to which Qualcomm could have responded.
`The Board never asked Qualcomm any question of any kind
`about the requirement. Nor did the Board ask for addi-
`tional briefing after the hearing, though it did so with re-
`spect to another claim construction issue discussed at the
`hearing. Qualcomm was given no opportunity to supply
`any evidence, whether expert or documentary, to address
`why a skilled artisan would have understood “plurality of
`carrier aggregated transmit signals” to require signals that
`increase bandwidth. See Office Patent Trial Practice
`Guide, 77 Fed. Reg. 48,756, 48,768 (Aug. 14, 2012) (“No
`new evidence or arguments may be presented at the oral
`argument.”); cf. Dell, 818 F.3d at 1301. Indeed, Qualcomm
`stated that it would have wanted to introduce extrinsic ev-
`idence into the record, including LTE specifications refer-
`enced in the specification, to support the increased
`bandwidth requirement. See ’675 patent at 2:63–67; Oral
`Argument at 10:40–11:07, http://oralarguments.cafc.
` Ac-
`cordingly, the hearing did not provide an adequate oppor-
`tunity to respond.


`Case: 20-1589 Document: 61 Page: 13 Filed: 07/27/2021
`Intel finally argues that Qualcomm’s opportunity to
`seek rehearing after it received notice through the final
`written decisions provided an adequate opportunity to re-
`spond. We do not agree. Intel’s position would effectively
`require an aggrieved party to seek rehearing before appeal-
`ing a Board’s failure to provide notice and an opportunity
`to respond. We have generally held that a party need not
`seek rehearing in order to seek relief from a Board decision
`on appeal. See In re Magnum Oil Tools Int’l, Ltd., 829 F.3d
`1364, 1377 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (“Nowhere does the statute
`granting parties the right to appeal a final written decision
`in an IPR require that the party first file a request for re-
`hearing before the Board . . . .”); see also 35 U.S.C. § 141(c)
`(“A party to an inter partes review . . . who is dissatisfied
`with the final written decision of the [Board] under section
`318(a) . . . may appeal the Board’s decision . . . .”). We have
`also vacated Board decisions for violating a patent owner’s
`procedural rights where the patent owner never requested
`a rehearing. See, e.g., Dell, 818 F.3d at 1301–02 (vacating
`a Board decision for violating a patent owner’s procedural
`rights, even though the patent owner did not request re-
`hearing); In re NuVasive, Inc., 841 F.3d 966, 975 (Fed. Cir.
`2016) (same). Finally, we “are not free to impose an ex-
`haustion requirement as a rule of judicial administration
`where the agency action has already become ‘final’” under
`the APA.4 Darby v. Cisneros, 509 U.S. 137, 154 (1993).
`4 The Board’s final written decisions in each IPR are
`final for APA purposes because they terminated the IPR
`proceeding and the Board made patentability determina-
`tions that affect the patent rights of Qualcomm. PGS Geo-
`physical AS v. Iancu, 891 F.3d 1354, 1361 (Fed. Cir. 2018)
`(“[A]gency action is final when the agency’s decision-mak-
`ing process is complete and the action determines legal


`Case: 20-1589 Document: 61 Page: 14 Filed: 07/27/2021
`Though it may have been a more efficient use of resources
`had Qualcomm sought rehearing, Qualcomm was not re-
`quired to do so. Accordingly, we reject Intel’s argument
`that Qualcomm’s failure to seek rehearing dooms its proce-
`dural challenge.
`Under the facts of this case, Qualcomm did not receive
`notice or an opportunity to be heard regarding the Board’s
`construction that departed from the agreed-upon increased
`bandwidth requirement. Thus, the Board violated Qual-
`comm’s procedural rights under the APA.
`We next turn to Qualcomm’s claim construction chal-
`lenge. We review questions of claim construction de novo.
`Williamson v. Citrix Online, LLC, 792 F.3d 1339, 1346
`(Fed. Cir. 2015). When construing a means-plus-function
`claim, we first “identify the claimed function,” and then
`“determine what structure, if any, disclosed in the specifi-
`cation corresponds to the claimed function.” Id. at 1351.
`Qualcomm challenges the Board’s construction of the
`power tracker limitation in claim 28, which both parties
`agree is a means-plus-function term. The Board deter-
`mined the function to be, in short, “determining a single
`power tracking signal.” See, e.g., J.A. 349. The Board iden-
`tified power tracker 582, which it found to be a circuit ra-
`ther than a computer, as the corresponding structure. Id.
`Qualcomm argues that the corresponding structure, in ad-
`dition to the integrated circuit on which the power tracker
`may be implemented, must include algorithms for pro-
`gramming that circuit. Appellant’s Br. 35. We do not
`rights or obligations or otherwise gives rise to legal conse-
`quences.” (internal quotations omitted)).


`Case: 20-1589 Document: 61 Page: 15 Filed: 07/27/2021
`In WMS Gaming, Inc. v. International Game Technol-
`ogy, we held that a “general purpose computer, or micro-
`processor, programmed to carry out an algorithm creates ‘a
`new machine, because a general purpose computer in effect
`becomes a special purpose computer once it is programmed
`to perform particular functions pursuant to instructions
`from program software.’” 184 F.3d 1339, 1348 (Fed. Cir.
`1999). Thus, “[i]n a means-plus-function claim in which
`the disclosed structure is a computer, or microprocessor,
`programmed to carry out an algorithm, the disclosed struc-
`ture is not the general purpose computer, but rather the
`special purpose computer programmed to perform the dis-
`closed algorithm.” Id. at 1349. In Aristocrat Technologies
`Australia Pty Ltd. v. International Game Technology, we
`further explained that “[b]ecause general purpose comput-
`ers can be programmed to perform very different tasks in
`very different ways, simply disclosing a computer as the
`structure designated to perform a particular function does
`not limit the scope of the claim to ‘the corresponding struc-
`ture, material, or acts’ that perform the function, as re-
`quired by section 112 paragraph 6.” 521 F.3d 1328, 1333
`(Fed. Cir. 2008).
`We clarified the scope of the algorithm requirement in
`In Re Katz Interactive Call Processing Patent Litigation,
`holding that it does not apply where the claimed function
`can be achieved by any general-purpose computer without
`special programming. 639 F.3d 1303, 1316 (Fed. Cir.
`2011). Since then, we have consistently held that if a re-
`cited function requires special programming, then the spec-
`ification must disclose the algorithm that the computer
`performs to accomplish that function. See, e.g., Rain Com-
`puting, Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Am., Inc., 989 F.3d 1002,
`1007 (Fed. Cir. 2021). We have also extended this algo-
`rithm requirement to cases in which the corresponding
`structure amounts to nothing more than a general-purpose
`computer. See HTC Corp. v. IPCom GmbH & Co., KG, 667
`F.3d 1270, 1280 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (processor and transceiver


`Case: 20-1589 Document: 61 Page: 16 Filed: 07/27/2021
`amounted to “nothing more than a general-purpose com-
`puter”). But our case law “does not require a specific algo-
`rithm when the identified structure is not a general-
`purpose computer or processor.” Nevro Corp. v. Bos. Sci.
`Corp., 955 F.3d 35, 42–43 (Fed. Cir. 2020) (discussing Aris-
`tocrat, 521 F.3d at 1333).
`Qualcomm does not argue that power tracker 582 is a
`general-purpose computer or microprocessor, nor can it.
`The intrinsic record reveals that power tracker 582 is cir-
`cuitry. See ’675 patent at 8:42 (“allow for a more efficient
`power tracking circuitry”), 13:32–35 (“The power tracker
`. . . may be implemented on an IC [integrated circuit], an
`analog IC, an RFIC, a mixed-signal IC, an ASIC, a printed
`circuit board (PCB), an electronic device, etc.”). During
`prosecution, the applicants asserted that “a power tracker
`. . . [is] understood by persons of ordinary skill in the art to
`include a range of specific structural circuits . . . .” J.A.
`2231. The Board’s unchallenged construction of “power
`tracker” in claim 1 to mean “component in a voltage gener-
`ator that computes the power requirement” further sup-
`ports that power tracker 582 is more than a generic
`computer. See, e.g., J.A. 347. Because power tracker 582
`is not a general-purpose computer, it does not trigger the
`algorithm requirement of WMS Gaming.
`Qualcomm asks us to extend the algorithm require-
`ment to circuitry. See Oral Argument at 20:14–40 We de-
`cline to do so. The reasoning for the algorithm requirement
`of WMS Gaming does not apply to functions implemented
`through circuitry. Unlike a general-purpose computer or
`microprocessor, circuitry does not “perform very different
`tasks in very different ways.” Aristocrat, 521 F.3d at 1333.
`Nor does circuitry require special programming to perform
`particular functions. Cf. WMS Gaming, 184 F.3d at 1348.
`Circuitry therefore provides structure that necessarily lim-
`its the scope of a claim without the aid of special program-
`ming. Our holding is consistent with our prior precedent.
`See Nevro, 955 F.3d at 35, 42–43 (“Nevro argues that the


`Case: 20-1589 Document: 61 Page: 17 Filed: 07/27/2021
`asserted patent specifications’ disclosure of a signal gener-
`ator as the structure for this limitation should end the in-
`quiry. We agree.”). Also, Qualcomm’s proposed extension
`would jeopardize a plethora of patents in the electrical arts
`that rely on circuitry as the corresponding structure for
`their means-plus-function claim limitations. Accordingly,
`we see no error with the Board’s construction of the power
`tracker limitation in claim 28.
`Because the Board failed to provide Qualcomm ade-
`quate notice of and opportunity to respond to its sua sponte
`claim construction, we vacate the Board’s final written de-
`cisions and remand for further proceedings.
`No costs.

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