Eric Blatt

Eric Blatt is an IP attorney at Scale LLP. Eric specializes in supporting emerging companies regarding intellectual property strategy and issues relating to federally-funded R&D. A former patent examiner and an accomplished litigator, Eric advises on patent drafting and prosecution, licensing and litigation, R&D agreements, government contracts and subcontracts, and strategic partnerships.

Eric is a leading expert on IP issues for startups receiving federal R&D funding, and he speaks and publishes frequently on IP and other issues relating to the SBIR program—a federal program that annually awards approximately $5B to startups performing high-impact R&D. Eric’s articles can be found at IPWatchdog, Federal News Network, Law360, and AIPLA Quarterly Journal, and he has spoken at a number of venues, including the SBIR National Conferences in 2017, 2019, and 2021, and at MIT’s Mission Innovation Program for dual-use ventures.

Eric is a member of the IP Committee for the Small Business Technology Council, which is an education and advocacy organization supporting small businesses participating in the SBIR program.

Recent Articles by Biden Administration Should Recommend Clarifying Patent Eligibility Law in American Axle

Biden Administration Should Recommend Clarifying Patent Eligibility Law in American Axle

Nine months in, and we are still awaiting the Biden administration’s decision as to whether the law of patent eligibility should be clarified. This area of patent law has in recent years become increasingly unpredictable, and the consequences of that unpredictability have largely fallen on startups, whose primary assets are often inventions. On May 3, 2021, the Supreme Court invited the Solicitor General to recommend whether certiorari should be granted in American Axle v. Neapco Holdings, LLC—a case in which a method for manufacturing vehicle driveshafts was deemed ineligible under 35 USC § 101 as being directed to a law of nature.

USPTO Rulemaking on PTAB Precedential Opinions Deserves Public Support

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has submitted proposed rulemaking for review by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Although the details are not public, the proposed rule is anticipated to formalize prudential doctrines on trial institution that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) currently applies through precedential opinions such as Apple Inc. v. Fintiv, Inc.; General Plastic Industries Co. Ltd. v. Canon Kabushiki Kaisha; and Becton, Dickinson & Co. v. B. Braun Melsungen AG. These doctrines provide legal frameworks under which the PTAB may deny institution of an inter partes review (IPR) based on fairness—rather than on merits alone. Because the doctrines reduce the odds that certain categories of IPRs will be instituted, they are subjects of fierce dispute among patent lobbyists and, most recently, a lawsuit filed under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in the Northern District of California. Apple Inc. v. Iancu, No. 5:20-cv-06128 (N.D. Cal.). As the two sides fight for their respective interests, the public—and policymakers—should not lose sight of the big picture: these doctrines protect basic tenets of fairness and they are, on balance, good policy. Stakeholders and OMB should therefore support the USPTO in its rulemaking effort.