Wallach, Circuit Judge.
Appellant Elbit Systems of America, LLC ("Elbit") sought inter partes review of various claims of Appellee Thales Visionix, Inc.'s ("Thales") U.S. Patent No. 6,474,159 ("the '159 patent"). The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Patent Trial and Appeal Board ("PTAB") issued a final written decision, see Elbit Sys. of Am., LLC v. Thales Visionix, Inc., No. IPR2015-01095 (P.T.A.B. Oct. 14, 2016) (J.A. 1-25), finding that, inter alia, Elbit failed to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that claims 3-5, 13, 24-28, 31, and 34 ("the Asserted Claims") of the '159 patent would have been obvious over U.S. Patent No. 4,722,601 ("McFarlane") in combination with two other prior art references, see J.A. 2, 4-5.
Elbit appeals. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(4)(A) (2012). We affirm.
Entitled "Motion-Tracking," the '159 patent generally relates to "tracking motion relative to a moving platform, such as motion-base simulators, virtual environment trainers deployed on board ships, and live vehicular applications including helmet-mounted cueing systems and enhanced vision or situational awareness displays." '159 patent, Abstract. The claimed invention purportedly "enables the use of inertial head-tracking systems onboard moving platforms by computing the motion of a `tracking' Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) mounted on [a head mounted display] relative to a `reference' IMU rigidly attached to the moving platform." Id. This eliminates the need to calculate an object's position relative to the ground, id. col. 1 ll. 23-25, col. 6 l. 67-col. 7 l. 12, col. 8 ll. 37-41, which improves functionality when "tracking on moving vehicles, where millimeter-level vehicle position data is generally
Dependent claim 3 is effectively representative
Id. col. 11 l. 50-col. 12 l. 2 (emphasis added).
I. Standard of Review and Legal Standard
"We review the PTAB's factual findings for substantial evidence and its legal conclusions de novo." Redline Detection, LLC v. Star Envirotech, Inc., 811 F.3d 435, 449 (Fed. Cir. 2015) (citation omitted). "Substantial evidence is something less than the weight of the evidence but more than a mere scintilla of evidence," meaning that "[i]t is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." In re NuVasive, Inc., 842 F.3d 1376, 1379-80 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). If two "inconsistent conclusions may reasonably be drawn from the evidence in record, [the PTAB]'s decision to favor one conclusion over the other is the epitome of a decision that must be sustained upon review for substantial evidence." In re Cree, Inc., 818 F.3d 694, 701 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
A patent claim is invalid "if the differences between the subject matter sought to be patented and the prior art are such that the subject matter as a whole would have been obvious at the time the invention was made to a person having ordinary skill in the [relevant] art [(`PHOSITA')]." 35 U.S.C. § 103(a) (2006).
II. Substantial Evidence Supports the PTAB's Determination that the Asserted Claims Would Not Have Been Obvious
This appeal concerns whether, in light of McFarlane, the method of integrating the "relative angular rate signal"
Substantial evidence supports the PTAB's conclusion of nonobviousness. It is undisputed that the method of calculating the "relative angular rate signal" taught in the '159 patent "is not explicitly disclosed" in the prior art because the prior art and the Asserted Claims employ different steps to calculate the orientation or position of a moving object relative to a moving reference frame. J.A. 468; see Oral Arg. at 1:19-2:01, 12:00-13:34. The PTAB credited the testimony of Thales's expert, see J.A. 14-15, who explained the prior art calculates an object's relative orientation using a three-step method:
J.A. 2109-10. For example, McFarlane calculates directional angles to detect the orientation of the moving object and then "appl[ies] ... inputs from the [moving reference frame's] own inertial platform so that movements of the reference frame may be off set against movements indicated by the [moving object]," indicating that McFarlane twice calculates orientation and then resolves those two calculations to determine relative orientation. McFarlane col. 4 ll. 14-21; see id. col. 2 ll. 37-54; see also J.A. 2138-39 (explaining, by Thales's expert, that a PHOSITA would have understood McFarlane to disclose this three-step method).
In contrast, Thales's expert explained that the Asserted Claims employ a two-step method: "the raw signal data from the inertial sensors ... is used to determine the relative angular rate signal"; and "[t]hat relative angular rate signal... is then used to calculate the relative orientation." J.A. 2112. This testimony is supported by the specification of the '159 patent, which explains that "this system operates independently without any inputs from the motion-base controller or the vehicle attitude[
Moreover, Thales's expert explained that the two-step method employed by the Asserted Claims "reduces both the number of calculations required to determine relative orientation ... and the propagation of errors that inevitably occur when using inertial sensors to track motion." J.A. 2112; see J.A. 2108 ("Contrary to the ... prior art, ... without performing all computations related to the Earth as a fixed reference frame, transformation errors are minimized."); see also '159 patent col. 1 ll. 40-42 (explaining that, prior to the '159 patent, "[w]hile the vehicle is turning or accelerating, the ... filter would attempt to fuse inconsistent data and produce unpredictable results"). This constitutes substantial evidence showing that the prior art does not teach the Asserted Claims' "relative angular rate signal."
Elbit's expert attempts to undermine this testimony by arguing that the two- and three-step methods are "mathematically equivalent" and that "there is no practical difference" between them. J.A. 2034. However, the PTAB determined that Elbit's expert's testimony was "unsupported" and entitled to "little weight" because he did not address or account for the recited relative angular rate signal limitation "anywhere in his opinion." J.A. 17-18. "The PTAB [i]s entitled to weigh the credibility of the witnesses," Trs. of Columbia Univ. v. Illumina, Inc., 620 Fed.Appx. 916, 922 (Fed. Cir. 2015); see Inwood Labs., Inc. v. Ives Labs., Inc., 456 U.S. 844, 856, 102 S.Ct. 2182, 72 L.Ed.2d 606 (1982) ("Determining the weight and credibility of the evidence is the special province of the trier of fact."), and, thus, we decline to disturb these credibility determinations here.
Elbit's counterarguments are unpersuasive. First, Elbit argues that the method employed by the Asserted Claims merely reorders the steps employed by the prior art and that "[c]hanging the order of steps
Second, Elbit argues that the PTAB applied the incorrect legal standard because it "fail[ed] to credit the knowledge of a [PHOSITA]," who would allegedly understand that the sum of integrals principle
We have considered Elbit's remaining arguments and find them unpersuasive. Thales's request for attorney fees is denied. Accordingly, the Final Written Decision of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Patent Trial and Appeal Board is
Costs to Thales.