IPWatchdog.com is in the process of transitioning to a newer version of our website. Please be patient with us while we work out all the kinks.

Posts Tagged: "Facebook v. Windy City"

Revised Facebook v. Windy City Opinion Preserves Bar on Self-Joinder for IPRs, Remands to PTAB on Late-Filed Petitions

On September 4, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) modified and reissued its March 18, 2020 opinion in Facebook v. Windy City Innovations, LLC, following Facebook’s combined petition for panel rehearing and rehearing en banc. In the March 18 opinion, the CAFC ruled that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) erred both in allowing Facebook to join itself to a proceeding in which it was already a party, and in allowing Facebook to add new claims to the inter partes reviews (IPRs) at issue through that joinder.

USPTO and Facebook Submit Briefs Explaining Effects of Thryv Ruling on Facebook v. Windy City

Last week, Facebook and the USPTO both filed briefs in response to a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) Order requesting that the parties and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) file supplemental briefs explaining their views regarding the effect of the Supreme Court’s April 20, 2020 decision in Thryv, Inc. v. Click-To-Call Techs, LP on the CAFC’s March 18, 2020 decision in Facebook v. Windy City Innovations.  In Facebook, the CAFC ruled that the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) erred both in allowing Facebook to join itself to a proceeding in which it was already a party, and in allowing Facebook to add new claims to the inter partes reviews (IPRs) at issue through that joinder.

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.

Facebook v. Windy City: CAFC Strikes Down PTAB’s Approach to Joinder in IPRs

In Facebook v. Windy City Innovations, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit earlier today ruled that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) erred both in allowing Facebook to join itself to a proceeding in which it was already a party, and in allowing Facebook to add new claims to the inter partes reviews (IPRs) at issue through that joinder…. On the topic of whether the language of § 315(c) authorizes the joinder of a person as a party to a proceeding in which it is already a party, the Court was again clear on what the plain language of § 315(c) allows. The Director is permitted  “to join as a party [to an already instituted IPR] any person’ who meets certain requirements. 35 U.S.C. § 315 (emphases added).”

Re-examining the USPTO’s Bid for Adjudicatory Chevron Deference—a Response to One Analysis of Facebook v. Windy City

Last week, Professor Andrew Michaels published an article with IPWatchdog commenting on Facebook v. Windy City and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s claim for Chevron deference for precedential decisions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). While I agree with his ultimate conclusion, “the PTAB cannot speak with the force of law through adjudication even on issues where it has the authority to do so through regulation,” I disagree with the path he took to get there. I’ve written extensively on the topic (see the bibliography is at the bottom of this article). Of my articles, the most relevant is The PTAB Is Not an Article III Court, Part 3: Precedential and Informative Opinions. More recently, I filed an amicus brief in Facebook. In my view, PTAB precedential decisions can be eligible for Chevron deference in only the rarest of circumstances:  the PTAB is the wrong entity in the USPTO to engage in rulemaking, the PTAB doesn’t follow the procedures required by statute and executive order for rulemaking, and the PTAB doesn’t have access to the personnel within the USPTO that are necessary for rulemaking.

Examining the USPTO’s Bid for Adjudicatory Chevron Deference

In response to a request for supplemental briefing from the Federal Circuit in Facebook v. Windy City Innovations, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently argued that its precedential panel opinions interpreting the America Invents Act (AIA) are entitled to Chevron deference, under which (essentially) courts must defer to an agency interpretation of a statute so long as the interpretation is reasonable. To the extent that this bid for Chevron deference is limited to procedural administrative Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) matters such as the one at issue in that case, (an interpretation of 35 U.S.C. § 315(c) which relates to the USPTO Director’s ability to join a party in inter partes review [IPR]), it is arguably defensible. But to the extent that the agency claims (or plans to claim) that its precedential PTAB opinions are owed deference on issues of substantive patent law, it is likely incorrect.