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Peter V. Boesen v. Garmin International

December 15, 2011


Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in case no. 08-CV-3248, Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer.

Per curiam.

NOTE: This disposition is nonprecedential.

Before RADER, Chief Judge, LINN and MOORE, Circuit Judges.

Dr. Peter V. Boesen appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment holding claims 1, 2, 4, 9, and 10 of United States Patent No. 6,784,873 ('873 patent) anticipated by a prior art Acura navigation system. Because there is no genuine issue of material fact and summary judgment of invalidity is appropriate, we affirm.


The '873 patent is generally directed to a method and medium for a computer readable keyboard display incapable of user termination. '873 patent Abstract. The patent purports to solve the problem of prior art touch screen keyboards which could accidentally be moved, resized, minimized, or altered on the screen. '873 patent col.1 ll.34-39. The solution is to "provide an on-screen keyboard which is incapable of alteration or termination by a user." '873 patent col.1 ll.43-45. An application asks for user input through the use of fields, and the user provides that input via the displayed keyboard. '873 patent col.3 ll.14-20. The keyboard, however, "may not be moved, maximized, or minimized" and therefore "provides the user with a constant input area to which the user may become accustomed and becomes an integral component." '873 patent col.3 ll.21-26.

While the specification suggests that the keyboard is a persistent (or in the words of the patent, "immutable," '873 patent col.3 ll.43-46) presence on the display, the claims are not so limited. Claim 1 is typical of the claims at issue in this litigation:

1. A method of entering data on a touch screen display, the method comprising: invoking a computer program in which user input is sought; invoking an input area, including a plurality of data input fields; invoking a graphical keyboard area incapable of user termination independent of termination of the input area, the graphical keyboard area having a plurality of keys on the display; selecting keys on the keyboard to provide the desired input; and automatically terminating the graphical keyboard area after the desired input is received in the input area.

Independent claim 10, includes "removing the graphical keyboard" after "determining that further input from the user is no longer needed in the input area." Hence, both independent claims allow for the removal of the keyboard. It is axiomatic that the claims define the metes and bounds of the invention. Arlington Indus., Inc. v. Bridgeport Fittings, Inc., 632 F.3d 1246, 1252 (Fed. Cir. 2011).

On summary judgment, the district court held all asserted claims of the '873 patent invalid as anticipated by the prior art Acura navigation system. The Acura navigation system had a touch screen that could be used to input information. It was flanked by additional "hard" buttons that could be used to control the cursor on the screen and operate the system. The Acura navigation system is pictured below:

J.A. 4 (citing GARM00616367).

The court explained that the "only argument that Plaintiff raise[d] on the merits of anticipation relates to the hard buttons that are always present on both sides of the screen." J.A. 6. SP Technologies, L.L.C., the named plaintiff at the time, argued that because the hard buttons flanking the Acura navigation system's touch screen could be used to, e.g., cancel the display, the system cannot anticipate the patent. J.A. 6.*fn1 The court acknowledged that the hard buttons could lead to on-screen results, J.A. 6-7, but held this did not prevent the Acura navigation system from anticipating the asserted claims since the Acura system "discloses a computer program that seeks user input by displaying an input area and invoking an on-screen keyboard that cannot be terminated independently of the input area." J.A. 7.

The court pointed to various display screens, as evidenced by the Acura navigation system manual, that included an input for a city name along with an on-screen keyboard that allowed the user to input letters to the city name field. The court explained that "the user selects keys on the keyboard to provide the desired input and the on-screen keyboard automatically terminates once the desired input is received" and the user presses the "find" key on the display. J.A. 8. While the court explained that the "Acura Navigation System's joystick can be used instead of the touch screen to select the on-screen keyboard's keys," it concluded that this additional functionality was "immaterial" to the anticipation analysis since the touch screen portion of the Acura system contained every limitation of the claim. J.A. 8. After analyzing the additional limitations in dependent claims 2, 4, and 9, and the other asserted independent claim, claim 10, the court held there was no genuine dispute of material fact and that the defendants were entitled to summary judgment of invalidity based on anticipation by the Acura navigation system. J.A. 9.

The district court's judgment was initially appealed by SP Technologies. Dr. Boesen is now the real party of interest, and pursues the appeal pro se. We have ...

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