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Technical Know-How Key to Protecting Innovation in an IPR Trial

Technical Know-How Key to Protecting Innovation in an IPR Trial

Digital rights management technology, or DRM, is the invisible shield that manages the use and distribution of digital content. When ContentGuard, a Xerox spinoff and owner of more than 290 DRM patents worldwide, was faced with defending six of its patents against an inter partes review attack, it called on Sterne Kessler.


Digital rights management technology, or DRM, is the invisible shield that manages the use and distribution of digital content. It allows artists, musicians, authors, and programmers to control how their creative works can be used and distributed, and how they are fairly compensated. When ContentGuard, a Xerox spinoff and owner of more than 290 DRM patents worldwide, was faced with defending six of its patents against an inter partes review attack from ZTE Corp., a China-based smartphone manufacturer, it called on Sterne Kessler.

And we did what we do best. First, our cross-disciplinary inter partes team analyzed the claims and features of each of ContentGuard’s six digital rights management patents to fully understand the sophisticated software and its role in current DRM technology. Ultimately, we secured a no-trial decision for key claims on one patent, and for a second patent, determined a reissue application was the best approach to secure ContentGuard’s rights. The remaining four patents faced a full trial before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board at the USPTO. After four consecutively scheduled oral hearings, we achieved full confirmation of all challenged claims. The result was a clear win for ContentGuard.

These IPRs were among the first to be fully tried under the America Invents Act, and were among the first to have claims fully confirmed. These IPRs quickly established Sterne Kessler as a leader in the post-grant challenge forum at the USPTO.

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