UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE United States Patent and Trademark Office Address: COMMISSIONER FOR PATENTS P.O. Box 1450 Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450
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APPLICATION

NO.

FILING DATE

FIRST NAMED INVENTOR

ATTORNEY

DOCKET NO.

CONFIRMATION

NO.

95/000,471
86497 7590

05/15/2009
03/28/2012

7,209,997

9278.002.RXUSOO
EXAMINER ESCALANTE, ART UNIT 3992 OVIDIO

5654

Paul M. Anderson, PLLC P.O. Box 160006 Austin, TX 78716

PAPER NUMBER

MAIL DATE ,

DELIVERY

MODE

03/28/2012

PAPER

Please find below and/or attached an Office communication concerning this application or proceeding. The time period for reply, if any, is set in the attached communication.

PTOL-90A

(Rev. 04/07)

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UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFF1CE
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Commissioner for Patenls United States Patent and Trademark Office P.O.8ox1450 Alexandria, VA 22313,1450
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uspto.gov

DO NOT USE IN PALM PRINTER
(THIRD PARTY REQUESTER'S CORRESPONDENCE ADDRESS)

I""'····~~VAK,DRUCE, & QUIGG, LLP (NDQ REEXAMINATION GROUP) 1000 LOUISIANA AVE" 53RD FLOOR HOUSTON, TX 77002

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Transmittal of Communication to Third Party Requester Inter Partes Reexamination

REEXAMINATION

CONTROL

NUMBER 951000.471,

PATENT NUMBER 7,209,997. TECHNOLOGY ART UNIT 3992. CENTER 3900.

Enclosed is a copy of the latest communication from the United States Patent and Trademark Office in the above-identified reexamination proceeding. 37 CFR 1.903. Prior to the filing of a Notice of Appeal, each time the patent owner responds to this communication, the third party requester of the inter partes reexamination may once file written comments within a period of 30 days from the date of service of the patent owner's response. This 3~-day time period is statutory (35 U.S.C. 314(b)(2)), and, as such, it cannot be extended. See also 37 CFR 1.947. If an ex parte reexamination has been merged with the inter partes reexamination, responsive submission by any ex parte third party requester is permitted. no

All correspondence relating to this inter partes reexamination proceeding should be directed to the Central Reexamination Unit at the mail, FAX, or hand-carry addresses given at the end of the communication enclosed with this transmittal.

PTOL-2070 (Rev.07-04)

NOTICE OF INTENT TO ISSUE INTER PARTES REEXAMINA TION CERTIFICA TE

Control No. 95/000,471 Examiner OVIDIO ESCALANTE

Patent Under Reexamination 7,209,997 Art Unit 3992

1.

-- The MAILING DA TE of this communication appears on the cover sheet with the correspondence address. -IXI Prosecution on the merits is (or remains) closed in this inter partes reexamination proceeding. This proceeding is subject to reopening at the initiative of the Office or upon petition. Cf. 37 CFR 1.313(a). A Certificate will be issued in view of: a. b. c. d. e. f.

IXI The communication filed on 20 February, 2012 by Third Party Requester. 0 Patent owner's failure to file an appropriate timely response to the Office action
dated failure to timely file an Appeal with fee by all parties to the reexamination proceeding entitled to do so. 37 CFR 1.959 and 41.61. 0 The failure to timely file an Appellant's Brief with fee by all parties to the reexamination proceeding entitled to do so. 37 CFR 41.66(a). 0 The decision on appeal by the 0 Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences 0 Court dated IXI Other: RAN mailed on August 26, 2011 .

0 The

2.

0 The
a. b. c.

Reexamination Certificate will indicate the following: Change in the Specification: 0 Yes IXI N~ Change in the Drawings: 0 Yes IXI No Status of the Claims: (1) Patent claim(s) confirmed:1-38. (2) Patent claim(s) amended (including dependent on amended claim(s)): (3) Patent claim(s) cancelled: (4) Newly presented claim(s) patentable: (5) Newly presented cancelled claims: (6) Patent claim(s)

D previously 0

currently disclaimed:

(7) Patent claim(s) not subject to reexamination: 3.1X1 Note the attached statement of reasons for patentability and/or confirmation. Any comments considered necessary by patent owner regarding reasons for patentability and/or confirmation must be submitted promptly to avoid processing delays. Such submission(s) should be labeled: "Comments On Statement of Reasons for Patentability and/or Confirmation." 4. 5. 6. 7.

0

Note attached NOTICE OF REFERENCE Note attached LIST OF REFERENCES The drawings filed on __ is:

CITED, (PTO-892).

IXI 0
0

CITED (PTO/SB/08 or PTO/SB/08 substitute).

0 approved

0 disapproved.

Acknowledgment is made of the claim for priority under 35 U.S.C. § 119(a) - (d) or (f). a)O All b)O Some* c)O None of the certified copies have

o been received. o not been received. • o been filed in Application' No. o been filed in reexamination Control No. o been received by the International Bureau

in PCT Application

No.

* Certified
8. 9.

copies not received:

0 0

Note Examiner's Amendment. Other: ~ relating to this inter partes reexamination proceeding should be directed to the Central Unit at the mail, FAX, or hand-carry addresses given at the end of this Office action.

All correspondence
Reexamination

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office PTOL-2068 (07-10) NOTICE

Part of Paper No. 20120301
OF INTENT TO ISSUE INTER PARTES REEXAMINATION CERTIFICATE

Application/Control Art Unit: 3992

Number: 95/000,471

Page 2

NOTICE OF INTENT OT ISSUE REEXMAINATION CERTIFICATE
1. This Office action addresses claims 1-38 of United States Patent No. 7,209,997. The examiner issued a Right of Appeal Notice on August 26, 2011 which confirmed claims 1-38. The Requester on September 23,2011 filed a Notice of Appeal and subsequently filed an Appeal Brief on November 23,2011. The Requester on February 17, 2012 filed a Notice of Withdrawal of Third-Party Requester's Appeal. No cross-appeals have been filed. Since the Appeal has been withdrawn, then the prosecution of the reexamination proceeding will be terminated, with the examiner issuing a Notice of Intent to Issue Reexamination Certificate (NIRC).

Status of the Claims
2. Original claims 1-38 are confirmed.

Information Disclosure Statement
3. With respect to the Information Disclosure Statement considered with this action, the

information cited has been considered as described in the MPEP. Note that MPEP 2656 indicates that degree of consideration to be given to such information will be normally limited by the degree to which the party filing the information citation has explained the content and relevance of the information. Information that does not appear to be "patents or printed publications" as identified in 35 U.S.C. 301 have been considered to the same extent (unless otherwise noted.

Application/Control Art Unit: 3992

Number: 95/000,471

Page 3

STATEMENT OF REASONS FOR PATENTABILITY AND/OR CONFIRMATION
The following is an examiner's statement of reasons for patentability and/or confirmation of the claims found patentable in this reexamination proceeding: The examiner incorporates by reference the. reasons set forth in the RAN for confirming the claims. As set forth in the RAN and with respect to Rosen, the examiner noted that Rosen is directed to a method for automatically pre charging in response to the read portion of a RMW operation. The examiner maintained that it was clear that for a read-modify-write operation,

precharging is initiated automatically based on data being sensed. However, while a RMW operation causes automatic precharge after data is sensed, the automatic precharge is not based on information that was provided with the RMW request. The claim is specific in that both an operation code and precharge information must be included together. Rosen, on the other hand, does not disclose of sending information with the operation code. Instead, automatic precharge is based on the sensing of data on the output and the isolation of the bit lines from the cell.

With respect to Olson, the examiner acknowledges that Olson discloses of 'precharge' information and the controlling of a memory based upon this information. As noted in the RAN, the claim requires inter alia "outputting the second operation code to the memory device, wherein the second operation code instructs the memory device to perform a read operation, wherein the second operation code includes precharge information that indicates whether the memory device should pre charge sense amplifiers on the memory device after sensing data corresponding to the read operation."

Application/Control Number: 95/000,471 Art Unit: 3992

Page 4

These limitations require an operation code to be sent to the memory device and wherein the same operation code includes both a read operation and precharge information".

As noted with iAPX Manual, the Examiner maintained that the request is sent to the memory device. As noted therein, at least a read, write or read modify write request can be sent to the memory module. With respect to Olson, the examiner additionally notes the following:
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As noted on col. 2, lines 40-44, "[a] page memory controller 26 responds to the output 254 of address comparator 22 and a signal 28 generated by CPU 10 indicating the start of a memory access, and outputs memory control signal MEMPAGE 30 and MEMCYCLE 32. A local memory controller 34 is then provided to receive MEMPAGE 30 and MEMCYCLE 32 and generate in response thereto a row address strobe (RAS) 36 signal and a column address strobe (CAS) 38 signal.

Application/Control Art Unit: 3992

Number: 95/000,471

Page 5

As noted in the above figure 1, the page memory controller is responsive to the start of memory cycle signal 28. In addition, the page memory controller determines whether or not to precharge based upon a comparison of the previous cycle address. Thus, when the teaching of Olson is applied to iAPX Manual, it is shown thatthe memory device of iAPX Manual will determine whether or not to precharge. However, the Examiner notes that there is no explanation as to whether this precharge information is sent to the memory device with respect to an operation code and wherein the same operation code includes a read operation. In addition, there is no indication that Olson discloses that the amplifiers must be precharged "after the data is sensed" but instead teaches of precharging or not-pre-charging before each read and write command based on the previous asserted address. The Examiner considers figure 2 of Olson to describe this process. As noted in step 50, the address of the next access is received from the CPU and this address is compared to the previous address, At step 54 it is determine whether or not to active page mode. If there is no match 'a page mode access is impossible' (col. 3, lines 14-15). If step 54 determines that page mode is possible. Following along the steps, RAS does not have to be pre-charged since the same row will be access. However, Olson specifically discloses that CAS must pre-charge. Thus, in this scenario upon receiving any request for memory access, the memory device must still pre-charge. Thus, it is insufficient to say that the sense amplifiers are pre-charged after data is sensed since this shows that the sense amplifiers are pre-charged prior to the data being sensed.

Application/Control Art Unit: 3992

Number: 95/000,471

Page 6

Thus, the Examiner acknowledges that Olson discloses of the transmission of precharge information to a memory device, but the Examiner maintains that iAPX and Olson fails to disclose the sending of this information within the same cooperation code as the read request and that Olson fail to disclose that the pre-charge information causes the sense amplifiers to be automatically precharged after the data is sensed.

With respect to the iAPX system and Rosen, set forth on page 49 of the Request, the requester noted that iAPX Manual discloses the use of a Memory RMW Read Request message, which inherently indicates to the memory module that it should not precharge". The requester's position was clear in that a RMW Request does not indicate that it should precharge after the first read of data. This issue is important because Rosen's teachings of pre charging during a RMW operation is in direct contrast to the iAPX 432 system's RMW operations. As noted in the RAN, pre charging cannot occur in iAPX and Budde immediately after data is read in a RMW operation. If the bit lines in the DRAMs of iAPX and Budde are precharged after data is read from the cell, the write aspect of the RMW.operation could not be

performed as the row to which the write is directed would be closed by the recharging. The patent owner notes that the DRAMs used in the iAPX 432 system do not have separate lines for read and write data as are present in the SRAM of Rosen. Instead, in the conventional DRAMs in the iAPX 432 system data is written and read using the same sense amplifiers over common data lines. If the sense amplifiers are cleared by precharging before the write data is sent over the data lines to the sense amplifiers, the write operation would be corrupted because the write data can

Application/Control Art Unit: 3992

Number: 95/000,471

Page 7

no longer be used to modify the data read from the row because it is not in the sense amplifiers. Therefore, combining Rosen with the iAPX 432 system would detrimentally alter the operations of the iAPX 432 system and render it inoperable for its intended purpose. Since it was admitted that precharging "should not" occur, the examiner agrees that combining Rosen with the iAPX 432 system would impermissibly alter the operation of the iAPX 432 system and render it inoperable for its intended purpose.

With respect to Wicklund, the Examiner notes that for claims 1, 19, 32, 35 and 38 with respect to pre charge information: The claim requires inter alia "outputting the second operation code to the memory device, wherein the second operation code instructs the memory device to perform a read operation, wherein the second operation code includes precharge information that indicates whether the memory device should precharge sense amplifiers on the memory device after sensing data corresponding to the read operation.

These limitations require an operation code to be sent to the memory device and wherein the same operation code includes both a read operation and precharge information.

As noted with iAPX Manual, the Examiner maintains that the request is sent to the memory device. As noted therein, at least a read, write or read modify write request can be sent to the memory module.

Application/Control Art Unit: 3992

Number: 95/000,471

Page 8

The Examiner acknowledges that Wicklund discloses of 'precharge' information, however, the Examiner notes that the memory control unit makes a prediction. As noted in col. 3, lines 12-20 of Wicklund, "a DRAM controller is constructed with the capabilities of utilizing the DRAMs page mode of operation and includes logic to selectively enable or disable the page mode of operation as a result of specific instruction for the executing software or upon some prediction of page mode efficiency based on past performance." Thus, Wicklund's precharge information is being determined from within the MCU. Since the Examiner takes the position that the MCU and its associated memory make up the claimed memory device, then it is clear that with Wicklund's system, operation code is not output 'to the memory device' since the operation code that is output to the memory includes both the read request and the precharge information.

While, the Examiner acknowledges that Wicklund discloses of the transmission of precharge information, the Examiner maintains that iAPX and Wicklund fails to disclose the sending of this pre-charge information to the memory device along with a read request and that the pre-charge information causes the sense amplifiers to be automatically pre charged after the data is sensed.

As further noted in the RAN, Wicklunds's controller will either send signals to its associated memory to automatically close the relevant row after the access is complete (normal mode), or instead to leave the row open for a subsequent access (page mode). The examiner however, maintains that Wicklund does not disclose of "automatically" closing the relevant row


Application/Control Number: 95/000,471 Art Unit: 3992 after the access is complete. Instead, closing or opening the row is determined prior to each memory access-there is no automatic precharging after data is read or sensed. . Page 9

In addition, assuming arguendo that both the read request and the precharge information were to be sent together, the precharge information would only indicate what the memory device should do prior to data being read. There is no teaching that informs the memory device to automatically precharge after data is read.

With respect to Bennett, the examiner maintained that "Bennett also makes it clear that the Wait Line does not "represent" an amount of time but instead indicates whether data is accepted or whether there's a need to re-try at a later time. As set forth in the claims (e.g. claim 1) a value is output to the memory device; the value is stored in a register in response to a first operation code to the memory device. A second operation code which is output to the memory device, instructs the memory device to perform a read operation. The claim requires a "read delay" to occur-before the sampling of a first portion of the read data is output. This read delay is based upon "the value" that was output to the memory device. Thus, in accordance with the claimed the claimed value represents a read delay that is to incur in response to the memory device receiving a second operation code. The examiner acknowledged that Bennett shows in Figures 25a and 25b that a delay occurs, however, the delay in Bennett is based on the number of Wait Lines and the number of wait lines does not correspond to a delay value.

Application/Control Art Unit: 3992

Number: 95/000,471

Page 10

With respect to Bennett and Rosen, as set forth in the RAN, the examiner previously relied upon the claimed second operation code to read on the RMW request operation in Bennett. In addition, the examiner relied upon the teaching of Rosen which discloses of precharging after the read operation portion of the RMW request.

The examiner notes that in Rosen precharging is disclosed to occur in two ways. As disclosed in col. 3, lines 6-14 precharging is employed "prior to the sensing of the data on the bit lines." In this embodiment, it is clear that Rosen does not "automatically pre charge" after data is sensed since pre charging is invoked prior to data being sensed and not "automatically" after data

is sensed in response to precharging information received via an operation code. Precharging is necessary so that the sense amplifiers can more quickly sense the cell's state ..

The examiner notes that Rosen discloses the following in col. 5, lines 40-63: Both in a read operation and initial portion of the read-modify-write operation, once the word line rises in potential, the state of the cells can be sensed on the bit lines, these bit lines having previously been precharged. Once the EWL signal is at a high level, transistors 64 or 65 or in some cases both transistors conduct. However, this does not cause any writing into the cell at this time for the read-modify-write operation. The driving circuits which provide the write line signals do not provide data until the sense amplifiers have latched the output data. For this reason, the output of the sense amplifiers is also coupled to the driving circuit 17. Once the driving circuit senses that data is present on the output data lines 15, the write lines are activated. At this time, since for example, both transistors 60 and 65 conduct, data is written into the cell. The data out is represented in FIG. 4 on line 81 by the waveform 89 and a write signal is shown on line 82 by waveform 90. The leading edge of the write signal follows the leading edge of the data out signal by time 91. Once the data has been sensed, the word line potential drops, isolating the bits lines from the cell, or cells. This permits the precharging of the bit lines in preparation for the next memory cycle.

Application/Control

Number: 95/000,471

Page 11

Art Unit: 3992
It is clear that precharging for a read-modify-write operation pre charging is initiated

automatically based on data being sensed. However, while a RMW operation causes automatic pre charge after data is sensed, the automatic precharge is not based on information that was provided with the RMW request. The claim is specific in that both an operation code and precharge information must be included together. Rosen, on the other hand, does not disclose of sending information with the operation code. Instead, as noted above, automatic precharge is based on the sensing of data on the output and the isolation of the bit lines from the cell.

Thus, Rosen fails to disclose the sending of 'precharge information" with the operation code and wherein the precharging information that is included with the operation code causes the sense amplifiers to automatically precharge.

In addition, while Bennett discloses at least three types of operation codes: read, write and read-modify-write, the Rosen reference is only directed to providing precharge for readmodify-write operations. Rosen does not disclose if pre charging can occur automatically after a read or write only operation-instead sensed. precharging occurs conventionally, i.e. prior to data being

The examiner additionally notes that the claims recite "precharging information that indicates whether the memory device should precharge sense amplifiers on the memory device". The examiner acknowledges that not being able to precharge for a RMW operation is not disclosed by Rosen. Thus, there is no determination as to "whether" the memory device should

Application/Control Art Unit: 3992

Number: 95/000,471

Page 12

precharge. Instead, Rosen only discloses of precharging for a RMW request without providing an option to not precharge and further as noted above the precharging is not based on information provided with the RMW request, but instead is based on the sensing of read data being the sense amplifiers.

Any comments considered necessary by the PATENT OWNER regarding the above statement must be submitted promptly to avoid processing delays. Such submission by the patent owner should be labeled: "Comments on Statement of Reasons for Patentability and/or Confirmation" and will be placed in the reexamination file.

Conclusion 4. The Patent Owner is reminded of the continuing responsibility under 37 CFR 1.985(a) to

apprise the Office of any litigation activity, or other prior or concurrent proceeding, involving the US Patent 7,209,997 thr?ughout the course of this reexamination proceeding. The Third Party

Requester.is also reminded of the ability to similarly apprise the Office of any such activity or proceeding through the course of this reexamination proceeding. 2686.04. 5. All correspondence relating to this inter partes reexamination proceeding should be See MPEP § 2686 and

directed: By EFS: Registered users may submit via the electronic filing system EFS-Web, at https://efs.uspto.gov/efile/myportaIlefs-registered. Mail Stop Inter Partes Reexam Attn: Central Reexamination Unit

By Mail to:

Application/Control Art Unit: 3992

Number: 9~/000,471

Page 13

Commissioner for Patents United States Patent & Trademark Office P.O. Box 1450 Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450 By FAX to: (571) 273-9900 Central Reexamination Unit Customer Service Window Attn: Central Reexamination Unit Randolph Building, Lobby Level 401 Dulany Street Alexandria, VA 22314

By hand:

For EFS-Web transmissions, 37 CFR 1.8(a)(1)(i) (C) and (ii) states that correspondence (except for a request for reexamination and a corrected or replacement request for reexamination) will be considered timely filed if (a) it is transmitted via the Office's electronic filing system in accordance with 37 CFR 1.6(a)(4), and (b) includes a certificate of transmission for each piece of correspondence stating the data of transmission, which is prior to the expiration of the set period of time in the- Office action. Any inquiry concerning this communication or earlier communications from the examiner, or as to the status of this proceeding, should be directed to the Central Reexamination Unit at telephone number (571) 272-7705. /Ovidio Escalante/ Ovidio Escalante Primary Examiner Central Reexamination Unit - Art Unit 3992 (571) 272-7537 Conferee: /r.g.f./ Conferee:

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