Posts Tagged: "PTAB and the public rights doctrine"

PTAB Errors Fatal to Hundreds of Legitimate Patents

There have been 220 patents upheld as valid in real courts and also subject to a final written decision in the PTAB. The PTAB only agreed with the real courts on 52 patents, while disagreeing with them on 168 patents. If the U.S. legal system is the gold-standard, that means the PTAB is erroneously invalidating patents 76% of the time… In the PTAB, generally only two grounds of attack are available – 35 U.S.C. §102 for novelty and 35 U.S.C. §103 for non-obviousness. But in the real court four grounds are available as a defense – along with §102, §103, accused infringers are also afforded validity challenges under 35 U.S.C. §101 for basic patentability and 35 U.S.C. §112 for specification. So how is it that the PTAB invalidates three times as many patents with only half as many grounds available? The only answer is because it is specifically designed to help infringers by bypassing due process protections afforded to inventors in real courts. Apologists will go on to argue that the PTAB had better evidence, better prior art, better experts, better judges – nonsense! The real courts have rules and procedures which are tremendously more thorough, developed, proven, and fair. The PTAB has not and cannot measure up.

What is on the Horizon for Patent Owners in 2018?

One of the questions that gets asked this time of year, when the world is busy flipping the calendar from one year to the next, is “What are you looking forward to in the new year?” For patent owners operating in the U.S., however, it may be better to ask, “What are you looking ahead to in 2018?” Looking forward would seem to denote a sense of optimism and such optimism has been in short supply among those in the tech space who don’t have the deep wallets to withstand the costs of pursuing infringers, including those costs incurred by the efficient infringer cartel’s use of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

Tech’s Ruling Class Files Amici Briefs with U.S. Supreme Court in Oil States Case

October 30th was a very busy day for amici filing briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court on how the highest court in the nation should decide in Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC, a case in which oral arguments will be heard on November 27th. Many of the briefs filed on the 30th were submitted by some of the biggest names in the tech industry. Taking a look at briefs filed by this major companies, some of whom have been seeing great success in patent validity trials at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), it’s both revealing and unsurprising to find how the tech ruling class feels that the Supreme Court should decide in Oil States.

Law Professors File Briefs with the Supreme Court in Oil States

A review of amici briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC provides evidence of a stark split in how various stakeholders in the U.S. patent system view the patent validity challenge activities ongoing at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Whereas many of the world’s largest tech companies who have a dominant advantage in the consumer marketplace are in favor of the PTAB remaining active, many small entities and individual inventors are greatly opposed to the PTAB and its differing standards on patent validity leading to a higher rate of invalidation than in Article III district court proceedings. A look at amici briefs coming from law professors can shed some light on where the academic sector comes down on the subject of the PTAB’s constitutionality.

AIA and PTAB Unconstitutional Under the Public Rights Doctrine

Only Article III courts can provide a fair, neutral and unbiased forum for assessment of patent validity. For over two hundred years, patent validity, patent infringement and patent damages have been consolidated to be heard in federal district courts. Federal courts supply impartial judges that are immune from influence by the executive or legislative branches. Furthermore, federal courts supply jury trials that enable a fair application of due process rights in the hearing of a patent dispute. Patent validity review is only a single component of patent infringement cases and it is efficient to have this component of the matter reviewed in a single matter.

IPRs unduly harm patent holders and benefit big tech infringers

The PTO systematically administers a collection of procedures in IPRs to unduly harm patent holders and benefit big tech company infringers. The data show that the plain result of PTAB procedures appears to benefit infringers with a clear bias against patent holders. PTAB cancels challenged claims in 76% of instituted patent reviews, a rate that is 2 ½ times greater than in the federal district courts. The reason is that PTAB employs a set of procedures that stacks the deck against patent holders. There is clear bias at every step of the process of reviewing patent validity. However, there are several components of PTAB procedures that are particularly onerous and problematic and that go to the heart of the due process issues that infect IPRs.

McCormick and the Separation of Powers Constraints of Patent Invalidation

The argument that patents are private rights is supported by over two centuries of jurisprudence. Patent rights derive from Article I, section 8, clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution, which empowers Congress to promote progress by creating laws involving patents and copyrights. The patent bargain exchanges disclosure of new and useful inventions for a limited term exclusive right. The public benefits from the patent bargain in two ways. First, the disclosure enables others to build on the invention. Second, after a twenty year period, the public receives the benefits of the invention for free as the rights flow to the public domain. The patent bargain stimulates incentives to invent, to invest in innovation and to take ex ante risks.

Private Rights and the Sanctity of an Independent Judiciary

There appears to be a consistent pattern of public rights cases from Murray’s Lessee to Stern. Congress may establish a public right, separate from actions that affect the federal government, that involves an action related to protection of the public, such as health or welfare, and may establish an executive tribunal in which to adjudicate these rights. An Article I tribunal may adjudicate these public rights, primarily by advancing a fact-finding role, but within the constraints of consent, due process and review by an Article III court. On the other hand, private rights or rights involving matters between private parties that have been adjudicated in common law in Article III courts will continue to be resolved only in the federal courts. A right to a jury to hear facts in federal courts will be maintained in those disputes between private rights involving private parties.

The Modern Public Rights Doctrine

The modern public rights jurisprudence flows from Atlas Roofing in 1977 to Stern in 2011. Although the case law does not provide a straight line, there is a consistent pattern illustrating the clear constraints of administrative agency adjudication. These constraints include consent of the parties, due process and review by Article III courts. Without these elements, according to a continuous line of Supreme Court jurisprudence, administrative proceedings are illegitimate and unconstitutional. Stern is the governing precedence on the issue of the public rights doctrine, with the composition of the Court today substantially identical to that of the Stern Court.

The Classical Public Rights Doctrine: Growth of the Administrative State

The Crowell Court distinguishes between matters of common law adjudicated in the federal courts and matters that may be reviewed in administrative agencies. However, the Court is concerned mainly with the maintenance of due process in administrative tribunals… The Crowell Court is thus concerned about the “essential demands of due process” and the limits of federal government authority. Enabling administrative tribunals to act merely as finders of fact, within the bounds of due process, and allowing for their findings to be reviewed in Article III courts, the issue of separation of powers is prominent in the preservation of the independence of the judiciary.

Patent Review in an Article I Tribunal is Unconstitutional Under the Public Rights Doctrine

This experiment in patent validity review an executive agency by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, an Article I tribunal in the PTO, has been unsuccessful…The chief constraints of the public rights doctrine involve consent and due process by an Article I tribunal and review of tribunal determinations by an Article III court. None of these features are present in the PTAB review of issued patents. In fact, the PTAB has shown a massive number of institutional abuses of IPRs that have undermined its legitimacy and negated its determinations… Ultimately, it will be shown that PTAB has vastly worse patent validity review results than federal district courts because of a blatant disregard for due process. As a consequence of these observations, it should be clear that the PTO is susceptible to political influences by the powerful technology lobby’s false narrative of poor quality patents that resulted in creation of a sanctimonious mechanism for patent validity review to constrain competition from market entrants, with an effect to promote technology incumbent profits.

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