Posts Tagged: "inter partes"

The PTAB Continues to Break Patent Promises to the Detriment of Inventors

Surviving inventors are incredibly rare. I have met dozens of inventors with incredible discoveries whose naïve belief in the patent system have cost them way more than they have gained. They taught a big corporation their technology either directly or via the publication of their patent. The big corporations have made tens of millions of dollars using the inventor’s technology. The inventor paid lawyers hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for losing his patent rights. Many of these inventors are financially and/or psychologically devastated, and every one of them has a legitimate invention. One such legitimate inventor who has been railroaded by the U.S. patent system is Tom Waugh… If he keeps trying to play the patent game of kings, he will become a pauper – a much worse position for having acted on the false promise of the modern American patent system.

An Exclusive Interview with USPTO Director Andrei Iancu

Director Iancu is knowingly and intentionally seeking to provide hope in the words he speaks because he believes a strong patent system is necessary for the U.S. economy to flourish. In part one of our interview we also discussed the need for transparency, and the troubling Freedom of Information Act processes employed by the Office that seem hopelessly broken. We discussed the posts grant challenge process, the PTAB, experience level of the Administrative Patent Judges on the PTAB and inter partes review.

PTO Proposes Rulemaking to Implement Phillips Claim Construction at PTAB

Earlier today the USPTO announced proposed rulemaking that would change the prior policy of using the Broadest Reasonable Interpretation (BRI) standard for construing unexpired and proposed amended patent claims in PTAB proceedings under the America Invents Act and instead use the Phillips claim construction standard.. The new standard proposed by the USPTO is the same as the standard applied in Article III federal courts and International Trade Commission (ITC) proceedings, a change critics of the PTAB process have urged for many years in order to bring uniformity to post grant challenges across forums… The USPTO is also proposing to amend the rules for PTAB trials to add that the USPTO will consider any prior claim construction determination concerning a term of the claim in a civil action, or an ITC proceeding, that is timely made of record in an Inter Partes Review (IPR), Post Grant Review (PGR), or Covered Business Method (CBM) proceeding.

PTAB Reform: An Urgent Request on Behalf of Independent Inventors

What follows is a letter on the topic of PTAB reform that will be sent to USPTO Director Andrei Iancu on Monday, May 14, 2018. The letter seeks urgent action on the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in order to bring balance to a process that has tormented inventors for the last 6 years. We already have over 100 signatures from patent owners, patent attorneys, investors and inventors. If you would like to sign onto this letter please visit http://100patentowners.org.

The State of the U.S. Patent System: From Oil States to Patent Eligibility

One week ago, the United States Supreme Court issued two decisions pertaining to inter partes review (IPR) challenges at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Meanwhile, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued fresh patent eligibility guidance thanks to the Federal Circuit’s recent decision in Berkheimer v. HP. Join Gene Quinn and Todd Dickinson, former USPTO Director and current Senior Partner at Polsinelli, on Thursday, May 3, 2018, at 12pm EST, for a free webinar.

The Supreme Court is wrong, a patent is not a franchise

The word franchise is defined as an authorization granted by a government or company to an individual or group enabling them to carry out specified commercial activities… A patent is an exclusive right by nature. A patent does not give anyone the right to do anything other than to exclude someone else from doing something… So how then can a patent be a grant from the government to carry out specified commercial activities? That is simply not what a patent is, it is not what the statute says, it is not the grant provided to the patentee. To put it point blank, the Supreme Court has fundamentally altered the nature of the patent grant without reason or authority.

Control Over District Court Litigation is Required for Time Bar Under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b)

An IPR petition is not time-barred for reasons of privity with a district court defendant in a prior litigation when no evidence shows that the petitioner controlled the litigation and would be bound by its outcome, or was in privity with a litigant for other reasons. It is not enough for the petitioner to indemnify litigants or have an interest in the outcome. Similarly, for a district court defendant to be a real party in interest in an IPR, the petitioner must have filed the petition at the behest or on behalf of the defendant. Finally, it was not an abuse of discretion to deny Patent Owner’s motion for additional discovery, when the requested discovery would not prove privity on the grounds alleged in the motion.

Reflections on Oil States: Are There Silver Linings Amidst the Doom and Gloom?

That being said, and following up on the feeling of “doom and gloom” many of us had upon initial issuance of the Oil States decision, there is some reason for hope here in at least reigning in some of the impact of IPRs. The majority opinion concludes by “emphasiz[ing] the narrowness of [its] holding,” i.e., it only addresses the 7th Amendment and Article III challenges. Or as I’ve characterized this portion of the majority opinion, it suggests the wrong questions were asked by Oil States. Instead, it suggests Oil States should have asked the following questions: (1) was retroactive application of IPRs proper, even though that procedure was not in place when Oil States’ patent issued?; and (2) may IPRs be challenged on “due process” and “takings clause” grounds (stating that “our decision should not be misconstrued as suggesting that patents are not property for purposes of the Due Process Clause or the Takings Clause”). With reference to the second question, note in particular that the majority cited the Florida Prepaid case which relates to 11th Amendment sovereign immunity of the states and their institutions. That citation has direct implications in the University of Minnesota’s appeal to the Federal Circuit of PTAB’s ruling (wrong in my view and others) in the Ericsson decision that state institutions (such as state universities) waive their 11th Amendment sovereign immunity in IPRs if they have brought a separate patent infringement suit in federal district court.

Supreme Court Holds PTAB Must Decide Validity of All Challenged Claims in IPRs

As in civil litigation, the petitioner in an inter partes review is master of its complaint and is “normally entitled to judgment on all of the claims it raises, not just those the decisionmaker might wish to address.” Therefore, the Board must decide the validity of every challenged claim when it agrees to institute inter partes review of any one challenged claim.

Despite Oil States, Inter Partes Review May Still Be Held Unconstitutional

Oil States v Greene’s Energy, 584 U.S. ___ (2018), just decided that patents are a public right, a franchise right, akin to a right to erect a toll bridge, and not personal property (slip op. at 9).  What was unfortunately never addressed in Oil States, and which the court specifically left the door open for, was that patents rights are still property rights for the purpose of Due Process–the inference being that IPRs may fail under the Due Process or Takings Clause.  Indeed the court seemed to lament that Oil States did not challenge the retroactive application of IPRs and their constitutional sufficiency on a broader basis. 

SAS: When the Patent Office institutes IPR it must decide patentability of all challenged claims

In SAS Institute, a 5-4 majority ruled that there is no authorization in the statute for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to partially institute a petition for inter partes review. Thus, the Supreme Court held that when the Patent Office institutes an inter partes review it must decide the patentability of all of the claims the petitioner has challenged. To provide instant reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in SAS Institute we’ve reached out to an All-Star panel of industry experts for their take on this important decision. Their analysis follows. 

SCOTUS says Patents are a Government Franchise, Not a Vested Property Right

While there has been much optimism due to the arrival of USPTO Director Andrei Iancu and his recent speeches signaling he understands the U.S. patent system must move along a different path, it is impossible to think that one man will be able to correct the collective mistakes of 535 elected Members of Congress and 9 ivy league educated jurists who seem convinced that forfeiting America’s patent system is somehow what the Constitution demands. His job just became much more difficult, and all the more important.

PTAB challenges are a costly, uphill battle for patent owners

Often, a PTAB proceeding is threatened by an accused infringer to successfully settle the dispute with the patent owner. Often, no PTAB petition is ever filed. When the patent is asserted in two or more district court suits, often only one PTAB proceeding is filed. Many valuable and infringed patents are not asserted because of the threat of PTAB challenge. Everyone knows the extreme threat of a PTAB challenge and the costly, time-consuming, uphill battle to win faced by the patent owner.

Doubling Down on Double Adjudication – the MerchSource post-issuance review model

Imagine this: you become aware of a patent that might cover your products, so you reach out to the patentee to secure a license agreement. After negotiating and entering the agreement, you later decide you’d like to pay less or no royalties. So you threaten to file some IPR and PGR petitions, and when that fails to secure more favorable terms, you breach the contract. If you find yourself sued for patent infringement you protest to the court that as the agent of public interest, you must be allowed to simultaneously challenge the validity of the patents not only before that court, but also before the PTAB. On the same grounds. At the same time. This is what at least one licensee is trying, and the Federal Circuit may soon provide guidance on the viability of this double-adjudication-for-the-public-good-tactic.

Conclusory approach to obviousness by PTAB in IPR insufficient to render claims invalid

The Federal Circuit found that the Board failed to provide sufficient explanation for its obviousness finding, instead using a conclusory approach that asked whether the missing limitation resulted from “ordinary creativity” of a skilled artisan. According to the panel majority, the question of whether the claims resulted from ordinary creativity was akin to asking whether the claims were obvious as a result of common sense. Therefore, the Federal Circuit began by returning to it’s 2016 ruling in Arendi S.A.R.L. v. Apple Inc., 832 F.3d 1355 (Fed. Cir. 2016), which dealt with the proper use of common sense as part of an obviousness rejection.