Posts Tagged: "inter partes reexamination"

A Joint Stipulation of Dismissal Does Not Trigger Reexamination Estoppel Under Pre-AIA Section 317(b)

Appellant Affinity Labs of Texas, LLC (“Affinity”) appealed from the inter partes reexamination of its patent filed by Apple Inc. (“Apple”). Apple requested reexamination after Affinity asserted the patent against Apple in district court. The parties settled their dispute and filed a joint stipulation of dismissal with the district court… The estoppel provision of Pre-AIA Section 317(b), as applied to Inter Partes Reexamination, requires a “Final Decision,” which must show that the estopped party has not sustained its burden of proving invalidity of any patent claim in suit. Thus, a joint stipulation and order of dismissal “without prejudice” did not bar the maintenance of the Inter Partes Reexamination.

America’s Patent System: Mediocre and stabilized in a terrible space

“The results from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board reflect the procedures it applies, and in my judgment the procedures are wildly off base,” Judge Michel explained… “We’ve had PTAB final results… whatever the intentions were we don’t have to speculate… we have ample evidence of how it worked in practice. We know it doesn’t work satisfactorily.” *** “I don’t think things are really getting much better,” Kappos said. “We are in what I refer to as the leaky life raft.” When you are stranded and a leaky life raft comes along it looks great, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is still a leaky life raft. “The best you can say about 101 is that it has stabilized in a terrible space.”

Why the Unified Patents Model Would Not Work in China

Unified Patents is a relatively new form of patent troll that works as a “Troll of Trolls” or “ToT.” They file IPRs (inter-partes reexamination requests) to kill patents. While they purport to only attack “bad patents,” their definition of a “bad patent” is simply any patent asserted against their clients. So who are their clients? Good question – that is a large part of the problem. They keep most of their clients’ identities secret. Unified does identify a handful of their members on their website such as Adobe, Google, NetApp, Roku, and Salesforce… But China is different. Here, a mercenary third party attacking innovation via patents is problematic. China, unlike America, has made innovation a top priority. China’s government has also, over the last few years, created the best patent enforcement environment in the world.

CAFC affirms reliance on expert declaration, remands inter partes reexam over O’Malley dissent

Reliance on expert declarations is not per se deficient because the declaration utilizes a legal turn-of-phrase, i.e. “It would have been obvious.” The declaration is sufficient, and reliance is not an error if the declaration incorporates factual determinations that support its legal conclusions….Strava sought Inter Partes Reexamination of several claims of a patent owned by Icon. During reexamination, the Examiner rejected all pending claims as obvious. Icon appealed the Examiner’s findings and the Board affirmed. Icon appealed to the Court and challenged the Board’s reliance on Strava’s expert declarations as improper and its decision as lacking substantial evidence.

A STEPP In the Right Direction: A review of the PTO Stakeholder Training on Examination and Practice and Procedure (STEPP)

Hands on exercises were part of the program. In reading and understanding a patent application, materials were provided how examiners learn to break down an application in order to prepare to conduct a search. Work sheets and a sample problem of a mechanical device (a tortilla making machine) application with prior art references were provided to the attendees so they could do a disclosure analysis, determine any §112(f) issues, create a claim diagram, create a claim tree and ascertain if there are any other §§112 and/or 101 grounds of rejection. Another exercise was claim mapping using the same sample problem and additional prior art using PTO forms to formulate allowances and rejections. After the exercises were completed, there was discussion of what was learned and how there are many different ways to reach a conclusion.

Is the USPTO’s IPR Process Constitutional?

I represent MCM Portfolio LLC, which is seeking Supreme Court review of a recent decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upholding the constitutionality of the inter partes review (IPR) procedures created by the America Invents Act (AIA). The petition is available here. Amicus briefs in support of the petition are being filed May 31. We argue that IPR violates Article III of the Constitution, which vests the judicial power in the federal courts, and also the Seventh Amendment, which guarantees a right to a jury in civil litigation.

CAFC Dismisses Inter Partes Reexamination Appeal By a Party Who was Not Initial Requester

Waters argued that Agilent could not appeal, because Aurora was the third-party requester of the reexamination, not Agilent. The Court held that the relevant question was whether Agilent was a member of a class of litigants that may enforce a legislatively created right under 35 U.S. C. § 141 (reexamination appeals). If so, that party has a ‘cause of action’ under the statute, and this cause of action was a necessary element of his ‘claim.’ See Davis v. Passman, 442 U.S. 228, 239 (1979). The Court held that both 35 U.S. C. § 141 and 35 U.S. C. § 315(b) confirm that the right to appeal an adverse reexamination decision is reserved only to patent owners and third-party requesters.

Federal Circuit Review – Issue 60 – July 23, 2015

This week in the Federal Circuit Review: (1) Proposed rejections to claims added during Inter Partes Reexamination are not evaluated for substantial new question of patentability (Airbus S.A.S., v. Firepass Corp.); and (2) Likelihood-of-Confusion requires full consideration of strengths and weaknesses of existing mark (Juice Generation, Inc., v. GS Enterprises LLC ).

Dueling Press Releases Over Reexamination Ordered by USPTO

The substantial new question of patentability standard is lower than the prima facie case of unpatentability standard needed for a patent examiner to make a valid rejection. In other words, just because a prior art patent or printed publication raises a substantial new question of patentability does not necessarily mean that the prior art patent or printed publication can be used either alone or in combination with the other art of record to reject the claims. Nevertheless, it is most common that a reexamination when ordered will result in the claims all being rejected. Thus, in the clear majority of cases a reexamination request is granted if the request will support a prima facie case of unpatentability.

Petition for Rehearing en banc filed in Plasmart v. Kappos

This case intrigued me from the start because it seemed rather odd that there should be a nonprecedential opinion in an appeal to the Federal Circuit necessitated by a completely adjudicated inter partes reexamination at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Moreover, the original panel concluded that the combination of known elements resulted in a predictable result. The problem with that reasoning, however, is that not all of the elements were found within the prior art. In fact, the Board found that there are no fewer than three (3) meaningful structural differences between the invention as claimed and the prior art.

CAFC: PTO Has Power to Reexamine Already Adjudicated Patents

The CAFC’s split panel decision this past week – In re Construction Equipment Company – extends the PTO’s authority to reexamine a patent even where its validity has already been adjudicated and confirmed by the courts. Yet the CAFC once again fails to explain how a PTO reexamination finding that a patent is invalid effects an earlier judicial determination that the same patent is valid and infringed.

America Invents: The Unintended Consequences of Patent Reform

Notwithstanding the inherent unreliability of legislative history and the truly scary prospect of trying to get inside the head of Members of Congress, it seems fairly clear to me that the America Invents Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on September 16, 2012, contains at least a handful of things that can only be characterized as unintended consequences. Among them are: (1) U.S. patents issued from foreign filings will be prior art as of the foreign filing date; (2) commonly owned patent applications cannot be used against each other for novelty purposes; and (3) the creation of an post grant challenge limbo because of the delay in initiating post-grant review procedures.

What’s Wrong with Reexamination and How to Make it Better

The real sin is that reexamination could be a much better process. Those in Congress talk about alleviating the burden on the district courts by having a reexamination proceeding available, but they don’t seem to appreciate why it is that reexamination is under utilized. On top of that, patent reform circulating in Congress does absolutely nothing to revamp reexamination in a way that would streamline the process and make it more appealing. What patent reform does do, however, is add yet another procedure to bog down the Patent Office while not allowing the Patent Office to set fees and keep those fees they collect to do the work that is promised when they accept those fees. So if patent reform passes you can anticipate that the reexamination pendency numbers will get even more ugly, making the option even less appealing.

Torpedoing Patent Rights

The vast number of America’s companies that need patents to prosper and grow should fear the post-grant provisions for challenging patents in H.R. 1249, the patent reform bill passed last month by the House of Representatives. In a system already plagued by delays in granting patents, they threaten to delay courts from enforcing patents once finally granted. This threat has received little attention, perhaps because advocates of the bill promise promptness that they cannot deliver.

Inter Partes Reexam: Under Utilized Patent Litigation Defense

In almost all cases, inter partes reexamination is better than ex parte reexamination, except of course where the requester wants to stay anonymous or the application from which the patent issued was filed before November 1999. The opportunity to reply to the patentee’s arguments and to address the specific concerns of the examiner is quite valuable. This is especially true where the examiner cites his or her own prior art. Issues commonly evolve over the course of reexamination, so that arguments in an ex parte request often are no longer persuasive by the end of the proceeding. I would add that some of the frequent users of reexamination, such as Apple and Google, almost always select inter partes reexamination when it is an option.