Looking Forward: Predictions and Thoughts about 2018
First, I predict that the United States Supreme Court will find post grant procedures under the America Invents Act to be unconstitutional. It is my belief they took Oil States not as a patent case, but rather as an Administrative State case, and if that is correct this could be the first in a series of decisions over a number of years that will pull authority back from the growing Administrative State and toward the Judiciary. Second, in the event the Supreme Court does not declare post grant challenges unconstitutional, I predict the new USPTO Director will substantially modify PTAB rules and procedures, making them more fair and balanced. Third, again assuming my first prediction is incorrect, I predict the PTAB will continue to ignore Eleventh Amendment immunity and will likewise rule Indian Tribes do not deserve to claim sovereign immunity when in front of the PTAB. This will set up a showdown at the Federal Circuit that will ultimately be settled by the Supreme Court, likely in 2019. Finally, I predict there will be continued discussion about patent reform, with the conversation becoming increasingly pro-patent as Members of Congress continue to see undeniable proof that the U.S. patent system is regressing while the patent systems of the EU and China are on the rise. More specifically, I predict that the U.S. will fall out of the top 10 for patent protection in the annual Chamber IP Index, which will send a shockwave through the Capitol.