All Posts by Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is the President & CEO of IPWatchdog, Inc.. He is a patent attorney and a leading commentator on patent law and innovation policy. Mr. Quinn has twice been named one of the top 50 most influential people in IP by Managing IP Magazine, in both 2014 and 2019. From 2017-2020, Mr. Quinn has also been recognized by IAM Magazine as one of the top 300 IP strategists in the world, and in 2021 he was recognized by IAM in their inaugural Strategy 300 Global Leaders list. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.
Weaponization of the PTAB Presents First Challenge for Vidal

On April 27, Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), both members of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, wrote to Kathi Vidal, the newly confirmed Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), to inquire as to why the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is allowing itself to become weaponized. “We write to express our concern about the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) recent decisions to institute inter partes reviews (IPRs) in OpenSky Industries, LLC v. VLSI Technology LLC and Patent Quality Assurance, LLC v. VLSI Technology LLC,” wrote Hirono and Tillis, who would go on to point out that the “facts and circumstances” suggest that the challengers “brought the proceedings to manipulate the [USPTO] for their own financial gain.”

New York Times Editorial Board Lobs Unfounded Criticism at Patent System, Iancu

The New York Times Editorial Board over the weekend penned an op-ed charging that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has “devolved into a backwater office that large corporations game, politicians ignore and average citizens are wholly excluded from.” The piece calls for an overhaul of the U.S. patent system and for new USPTO Director Kathi Vidal and Congress to “seize the opportunity…to modernize and fortify the patent system.” It includes input from Priti Krishtel of the Initiative for Medicines, Access and Knowledge (I-MAK)—which recently has been the subject of scrutiny by pro-patent lawmakers like Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC)—and Charles Duan, who has testified to Congress that patents deter genetic research and “bully and suppress true innovators.”

Leahy/ Tillis Announce Bill to Balance PTAB Process

Last night, the Chairman and the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property published an op-ed in The Hill on the important role the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) plays in the U.S. patent ecosystem, and expressed their commitment to strong patent rights as a necessity for American innovation to flourish. “In order to ensure America’s continued dominance in all areas of innovation, we must have strong patent rights,” Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) wrote. “However, for our patent rights to truly be strong, they have to be based on high-quality patents… The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) plays a critical role in this process and is a necessary backstop to invalidate truly low-quality patents that do not represent true innovation and never should have been issued.”

Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Reiterates Why Companies Must Rethink Their China IP Strategies

Every night for the last six weeks, the world has seen images and videos of the Russian military laying waste to Ukraine in what can only fairly be characterized as a medieval campaign of destruction. The Russian military has annihilated entire cities, targeted civilians, murdered women and children, and is preventing the American Red Cross from delivering food and medical supplies to civilians trapped and unable to escape. Nearly the entire world has condemned the atrocities committed during this unprovoked Russian war of aggression against its sovereign neighbor. China, who has entered into a no-limits cooperative agreement with Russia, is a notable exception.

OpenSky Attorney Emails Expose the Seedy Underbelly of PTAB Practice

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been a lightning rod since it was established on September 16, 2012. In recent years, it is undeniable that the PTAB has become fairer, although there are still obvious improvements that can and should be made. Unfortunately, the fact that the tribunal has become more even handed and offers more meaningful process and procedural protections to patent owners does not mean that the overall PTAB process is in any way fair to patent owners, as recently evidenced by an astonishing offer to throw a case, including tanking efforts of third parties seeking to join, if the patent owner paid up.

As Judge Stark Ascends to the Federal Circuit, a Look Back at His 2018 Ruling in American Axle

Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate officially confirmed Judge Leonard P. Stark to serve as a Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The Federal Circuit bench has great importance to the world of patent law as this is the U.S. federal court of appeal with specialized subject matter jurisdiction over all patent cases arising in U.S. district court and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Judge Stark was confirmed in an overwhelmingly bipartisan 61-35 vote, reported to be one of the most bipartisan confirmation votes thus far into the Biden Administration. Perhaps chief among Judge Stark’s qualifications that inspired such confidence in his nomination at the Senate was his previous position as U.S. District Judge for the District of Delaware. Serving as the Chief Judge of that district court since 2014, Judge Stark’s docket has seen more than 2,400 patent cases filed since he joined the District of Delaware back in 2010.

Mandamus and the Battle Over Venue in Modern America

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) has become enamored with the power of the writ of mandamus to correct what they do not like, and they do not like patent owners filing patent infringement actions in Texas. Or, perhaps it is more accurate to say that while they might not mind patent owners filing patent infringement actions in Texas, they expect federal district court judges in Texas to order those patent owners off to other courthouses outside of Texas upon the request of defendants.

SCOTUS, Vaccine Mandates and Patent Law: God Help Us

Is the Supreme Court competent to handle issues dealing with technology? The question is often discussed in private among patent attorneys who find themselves completely befuddled by the wanton disregard and open duplicitous handling of patent laws by the Nation’s High Court. In one decision, the Supreme Court will wax poetically about the need to adhere to precedent, and citing stare decisis, and then overrule well-established, 30-year-old Supreme Court precedent. The whim and fancy – and intellectual dishonesty – of the Supreme Court knows no bounds when it comes to patent law. But now, just how little at least some of the Justices know about basic science – and logic — has become glaringly and unmistakably obvious to everyone, thanks to the recent oral argument held regarding vaccine mandates.

Federal Circuit Says Intel Can Appeal Qualcomm IPRs Despite Lack of Infringement Suit

On December 28, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued a pair of precedential decisions in appeals raised by chipmaker Intel. These appeals came from final written decisions in several inter partes review (IPR) proceedings challenging the validity of patent claims owned by rival firm Qualcomm. In both decisions, the Federal Circuit found that Intel satisfied Article III standing requirements for appealing from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Standing has become a thorny issue that has plagued the Federal Circuit and PTAB.

Chief Justice Orders Review of Venue, Case Assignment for Patent Cases in Western District of Texas

While Chief Justice Roberts did not mention the Western District of Texas by name, that is what he is concerned about, which is clear from his reference to Senators expressing concern— concern that has been expressed relative to patent case assignment in the Western District of Texas. When a patent owner files a patent infringement lawsuit in the Western District of Texas the case will be assigned to Judge Alan Albright with virtual certainty.

Federal Circuit Says PTAB Erred by Accepting Stipulation of Parties

According to Judge Taranto, when the issue of indefiniteness of claims is raised in an IPR the challenge is not merely a contest between the petitioner and the patent owner, but rather protects the interests of the judicial system, the agency, and the public. Therefore, the Board should have conducted a prior-art analysis without any consideration of or deference to the stipulation of the parties, and entry of a final written decision on the merits absent such an independent consideration was inappropriate. The Board should have determined if there is indefiniteness and if “such indefiniteness renders it impossible to adjudicate the prior-art challenge on its merits, then the Board should conclude that it is impossible to reach a decision on the merits of the challenge and so state in its decision.”

Merry Christmas from IPWatchdog

First and foremost we want to thank everyone for spending a part of your day with us and reading IPWatchdog.com. We appreciate your reading, support, comments, e-mails, webinar participation and joining us at IPWatchdog LIVE. Thank you! Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, I encourage everyone to take a look at The Most Iconic (and Patented) Toys and Games…

Becoming Harder to Justify a One-Size-Fits-All Patent System

Meanwhile, all patents— good, bad, revolutionary, and stupid— have eroded to the point where continued use of the U.S. patent system must be questioned. Despite the statute saying that patents are to be treated as property rights, the Supreme Court has ruled that patents are merely government franchises that can be stripped at any point in time during the life of the patent regardless of how much time or money has been invested by the patent owner. It simply cannot make any sense for all patents to become increasingly worthless simply because of the victimization of large multinational corporations who are incapable of crafting a strategy that solves the nuisance litigation problem that does not destroy the entire system.

The PTAB Desperately Needs Reform, Not Preservation

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), created by the America Invents Act (AIA) just over 10 years ago, is the most electrifying lightning rod in the industry. As explained repeatedly by Members of Congress at the time the AIA was enacted, the purpose was to create a streamlined, less expensive, alternative administrative means to challenge the invalidity of issued patents. Sadly, with that being the stated purpose, the creation of the PTAB can be objectively characterized as nothing other than an abysmal failure. What has evolved is anything but streamlined, and certainly not inexpensive, even compared with district court litigation.

Tillis Pushes Tai Again on TRIPS IP Waiver Proposal, as South Africa Asks to Delay Delivery of Vaccines

Yesterday, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), the Ranking Member on the Senate IP Subcommittee, wrote to Ambassador Katherine Tai, the United States Trade Representative who is responsible for negotiating an IP Waiver to the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement with the World Trade Organization (WTO). This TRIPS IP Waiver is generated by proposals submitted by South Africa and India and seeks the waiver patent and trade secret protections relating to COVID-19 innovations. This is the fifth such letter Tillis has sent Tai. As noted by Senator Tillis and many commentators, including here on IPWatchdog, the proposed TRIPS IP Waiver is nothing more than an attempt to steal intellectual property rights covering important innovations that took nearly a generation to bring to fruition. And now we have definitive proof.