Posts Tagged: "conflict of interest"

Nasdaq ISE Files Motion to Disqualify Fish & Richardson at PTAB Over Prior Representation

Nasdaq ISE’s motion to disqualify Fish & Richardson was made pursuant to 37 CFR 11.109, which prevents a practitioner from representing a party adverse to a former client in substantially similar proceedings; this duty is imputed to the practitioner’s law firm under 37 CFR 11.110. In its motion, Nasdaq argued that the PTAB should adopt the magistrate judge’s finding that the defense of MIAX, including the CBM reviews challenging the validity of the patents asserted against MIAX, is a collaborative effort and Fish & Richardson should be disqualified because of the conflict of interest. The particular patent-at-issue in this CBM review was filed and prosecuted during the period in which Fish represented Nasdaq. “Because patent-eligibility, this sole issue in this CBMR, is evaluated from the time of invention… the confidential factual information Fish obtained from Nasdaq is material to the issues in this [CBM review],” the motion reads.

USPTO Substantially Revises PTAB Standard Operating Procedures

Earlier today the USPTO announced the substantial revision of Standard Operating Procedures (“SOPs”) for the paneling of matters before the PTAB (SOP1) and precedential and informative decisions (SOP2). The revisions deliver upon the repeated promises of USPTO Director Andrei Iancu to increase transparency, predictability, and reliability across the USPTO. These new SOPs update the procedures based upon feedback the Office received from stakeholders, courts, legislators, and six years of experience with AIA trial proceedings. These new SOPs are a major change to how PTAB panels will be comprised, and how precedential opinions will be designated. Given Director Iancu’s speeches, actions and apparent desire to have a more patent owner and innovator friendly Patent Office, these revisions will likely be game changing.

The Year in Patents: The Top 10 Patent Stories from 2017

It is that time once again when we look back on the previous year in preparation to close the final chapter of 2017 in order move fresh into the year ahead. 2017 was a busy year in the patent world, although change was not as cataclysmic as it had been in past years, such as 2012 when the PTAB and post grant challenges began, in 2013 when AIA first to file rules went into effect, or in 2014 when the Supreme Court decided Alice v. CLS Bank. It was, nevertheless, still an interesting year… To come up with the list below I’ve reviewed all of our patent articles, and have come up with these top 10 patent stories for 2017. They appear in chronological order as they happened throughout the year.

PPAC meeting comes and goes with no discussion of PTAB conflicts of interest

At the May PPAC meeting Ruschke deferred questions on issues relating to possible conflicts of interest and specifically indicated the topic of conflicts would be discussed at PPAC’s next quarterly meeting.The PPAC recently convened once again, this time on Thursday, August 3, 2017. No issues of possible conflicts of interest were raised and there was no mention of the conflicts of interest questions that have raised very serious questions about the appearance of impropriety at the PTAB… The blindfold appearing in the common depiction of Lady Justice is there for a reason. It’s time to acknowledge that and fix this problem so that it never happens again. The USPTO must adopt a Code of Judicial Conduct for Administrative Patent Judges.

Lex Machina’s online tools can help patent owners spot conflicts of interest at PTAB

Any patent owner facing validity challenges at PTAB who wants to do their own research into any potential conflicts of interest involving their panel of APJs should seriously consider using the data analytics tools available through Lex Machina. Although a subscription is required, the legal data and search tools provided by Lex Machina give any patent owner the ability to see for themselves what they may be facing and whether it would be appropriate to take some action in the form of filing a Motion to Disqualify.

PTAB chief judge Ruschke discusses ex parte appeals, PGR reform and more with PPAC

Ruschke’s claim that only PTAB judges familiar with the technology involved are assigned in ex parte appeals seems false based on what we know has happened in at least one high-profile matter. As previously mentioned, in Ex parte Hiroyuki Itagaki the PTAB ruled a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine to be patent ineligible because it is an abstract idea. See PTAB rules MRI machine an Abstract Idea. Judge Hubert Lorin, who authored the opinion in Itagaki, has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a B.S. in Chemistry according to his LinkedIn profile. Similarly, Judge Matthew Meyers, who was also on the panel, has a B.S. in Biology according to his LinkedIn profile. The third judge, Judge Bibhu Mohanty, does not list his technical expertise on his LinkedIn profile, but we have been told his expertise is also in the chemical area. Therefore, the PTAB does in at least some cases assign cases to judges who are not technically trained in the technology area of the invention

More conflicts of interest surface with second PTAB judge

The blindfold appearing in the common depiction of Lady Justice is there for a reason. According to Wikipedia, Lady Justice has been depicted with a blindfold since at least the 16th century, with the blindfold representing impartiality. When impartiality of the system, or the judges who are charged with administering the system, is questioned it is a very big deal… We have found yet another example of a situation where an PTAB judge has issued a decision and is participating in post grant administrative proceedings as a judge in a case where a former client is the petitioner.

Federal Circuit Affirms Disqualification of Counsel, Dismissal of Complaint Based on Confidential Information

Schlumberger raised Rutherford’s potential conflict of interest to the court in April 2014, and subsequently filed a motion to disqualify Dynamic’s counsel. The district court found that Rutherford’s work at Schlumberger was substantially related to her current work at Acacia. The court found that because the accused features of Petrel existed in the older versions that Rutherford was exposed to, and because she was involved at Schlumberger in efforts to license Petrel to other companies, the evidence created an irrebuttable presumption that she acquired confidential information requiring her disqualification.

Outsourcing to India: National Security Subversion & Job Loss

The fact that the outsourcing of patent searches and the preparation of patent applications violates U.S. law only makes perfect sense, particularly when you factor into consideration the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 181 (re: national security) and 35 U.S.C. 184 (re: foreign filing licenses). By openly and willingly tolerating the outsourcing of preparation work of patent applications the clear intention of 35 U.S.C. 181 is subverted. What good does a secrecy order make if the the information relative to the invention has already been sent overseas?