Facebook v. Windy City Settles It: The CAFC Does Not Care About the PTAB’s Opinions
The Supreme Court in SAS (SAS Institute Inc. v. Iancu) was quite clear that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB or Board) has to follow the statute when conducting Inter Partes Review (IPR). So, when Facebook sought to enter patent claims into their IPR against Windy City Innovations past the one-year deadline dictated by 35 USC § 315(b), the PTAB had conveniently written themselves an opinion that allowed Facebook to join Facebook to circumvent the deadline. The Board’s Precedential Opinion Panel (POP) used the language in USC § 315(c) and had written that the statutory use of the words “any person” allowed them to join a party to itself. See Proppant Express Invs., LLC v. Oren Techs., LLC, No. IPR2018-00914, Paper 21, at 4–6 (P.T.A.B. Nov. 8, 2018). After the CAFC’s Facebook v. Windy City decision, it’s clear that any PTAB Precedential Opinion Panel statutory interpretation is irrelevant. Practitioners should not accept any conclusions made by the Board about a statute, and petitioners should be more assured that a reasoned argument will prevail.