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Posts Tagged: "Leahy-Smith AIA"

USPTO Releases 2018-2022 Strategic Plan to Optimize Timeliness and Quality

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently released its 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, setting various goals to ensure high quality services for the agency’s customers and stakeholders aligned with the Department of Commerce’s strategic objective to strengthen intellectual property protection… “We are confident in attaining the goals set out in this plan and look forward to the continued engagement and feedback from our stakeholders and employees,” Director Andrei Iancu is quoted as saying in a press release issued by the USPTO upon the release of the new strategic plan. “Together we celebrate innovation and entrepreneurship—we are very proud of the men and women who stand behind a well-balanced American intellectual property system.”

Industry Reaction to Helsinn Healthcare v. Teva Pharmaceuticals Oral Arguments

On Tuesday, December 4th, oral arguments were held before the U.S. Supreme Court in Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA. The nation’s highest court will determine whether a secret sale of an invention, or a sale of a technology under terms that require the invention to remain confidential, triggers the on-sale bar under 35 U.S.C. § 102(a)(1), thereby preventing the invention from being patented. With this question squarely before the Supreme Court, several members of the legal industry who are watching this case offer their views on the major takeaways and the potential consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision, which will issue next year.

Supreme Court Hears Helsinn v. Teva: Does On-Sale Bar Capture Secret Sales

On the morning of Tuesday, December 4th, the U.S. Supreme Court held oral arguments in the case of Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharmaceutical USA (transcript of oral arguments here). This case asks the nation’s highest court to determine whether the sale of a patented invention which required the purchaser to keep the invention confidential (i.e.: a “secret sale”) qualifies as invalidating prior art under the on-sale bar found in 35 U.S.C. § 102(a)(1)… Justice Samuel Alito said that the most serious argument for Jay to deal with was the plain meaning of the new statutory language under the AIA; if “on sale” meant on sale publicly and privately, then the “or otherwise available to the public” language wouldn’t make much sense in the context of the statute.

Serial and Duplicative Petitions at PTAB by Apple, Other Tech Giants Flout Congressional Intent

The Alliance of U.S. Startups and Inventors for Jobs (USIJ) recently released a report detailing the organization’s research into serial attacks on high quality patents at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The USIJ’s research shows that, far from being a cheaper alternative venue for small businesses to challenge the validity of weak patents being asserted against them as was originally intended, the administrative tribunal has instead become a tool for rich, sophisticated companies who are able to harass owners of valuable patents with duplicative petitions filed either by themselves or by profiteering entities which weren’t envisioned when the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) of 2011 was passed into law.

Supreme Court to Determine if Federal Government Is a ‘Person’ Eligible to Petition the PTAB

The case will ask the highest court in the nation to determine whether the federal government is a person who may petition the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to institute patent validity review proceedings under the terms of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA).

The USPTO Must End Repeated and Concerted Patent Attacks

Why is it that innovators such as Universities and independent inventors are caricatured as patent trolls while entities such as Unified Patents and RPX, who exist for the sole purpose of destroying property, are somehow let off the hook or even celebrated? In a different era, about 100 years ago, those large corporations and their allies who ganged up on smaller companies and individuals were characterized as ‘robber barons’ and caricatured as ‘fat cats’… The AIA makes clear that patent owners should not have to endure repeated attacks on their patent claims at the PTAB.

Harmonizing the PTAB: Iancu calls change to Phillips ‘critically important’

“It seems self-evident that the same patent contested in different tribunals should have its meaning – its boundaries – determined using the same standard,” Director Iancu said when discussing the final rules implementing the Phillips standard at the PTAB… Those few who were not pleased by the change have cited a believe that the change to the Phillips standard would usher in a return to lower quality patents. With a bit of a confrontational tone, Director Iancu took issue with that, finding the argument without merit.

Supreme Court asked to apply Multiple Proceeding rule to end harassing validity challenges

The Multiple Proceedings rule has become the essence of uncertainty. What exactly does it mean? §325(d) gives the PTO Director the authority to refuse a petition when “the same or substantially the same prior art or arguments” were previously presented. For IPRs like this one to proceed despite numerous prior rulings in various fora upholding a patent’s validity is a travesty. The facts of this case underscore the mischief that can befall a patent owner under the current practice of the PTAB, enabled by the Federal Circuit… I recently wrote, “[t]he fight goes on to invalidate claims until the patent owner loses and the claims are invalidated.” But that is precisely what the § 325(d) Multiple-Proceedings rule was intended to prevent. And this needs to stop.

PTAB Upholds Kamatani Cloud Patent Challenged by Unified Patents

Last week the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) entered a final written decision terminating an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding that had challenged a patent owned by technology licensing company Kamatani Cloud. According to the PTAB, petitioner Unified Patents failed to show by a preponderance of evidence that any of the challenged claims of the patent were invalid on obviousness ground under 35 U.S.C. § 103. “We are delighted with the PTAB’s decision in this matter,” Shanahan said. “The Kamatani Cloud patent survived the validity challenge presented by Unified Patents and its beneficiary members with all 41 claims emerging intact.”

Smartflash Petitions Supreme Court to Challenge PTAB under Appointments Clause

In early August, patent owner Smartflash filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court to appeal a case stemming from covered business method (CBM) review proceedings carried out at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Smartflash is asking the Supreme Court to decide whether PTAB administrative patent judges (APJs) are principal officers of the United States who are subject to the terms of the Appointment Clause, whether CBM review of patents disclosed prior to passage of the America Invents Act (AIA) violates the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, and whether undisputed evidence that an invention is not unduly preemptive is relevant to answer questions of patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. At issue in this petition are a total of 30 CBM reviews petitioned by Apple, Samsung and Google against Smartflash, which were instituted by APJ panels at the PTAB.

Analyzing Amicus Briefs Filed in Support of Granting Cert. in Helsinn

On June 25th, the the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., on appeal from the Federal Circuit. The case will ask the Supreme Court to decide whether an inventor’s sale of an invention to a third party that is obligated to keep the invention confidential qualifies as prior art for purposes of determining the patentability of the invention under the terms of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA). In other words, is a secret sale prior art? To assess some of the reasons why the Supreme Court likely decided to take up Helsinn’s appeal, and some of the arguments we are sure to see again at the merits stage, we explore some of the amicus briefs filed with the Supreme Court encouraging them to take up the case on appeal.

Supreme Court Petition Challenges PTAB’s Constitutionality Under the Takings Clause

Advanced Audio’s petition for writ of certiorari notes, all five patents were filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office prior to the enactment of the America Invents Act (AIA), which established the PTAB. Prior to Congressional passage of the AIA, Advanced Audioe didn’t need much litigation of its patent rights to license its patents and achieve most of its revenue. After the AIA passed, Advanced Audio began having to again file suits against those who were practicing its patented technology without a license. The patents invalidated by the PTAB were asserted by Advanced Audio in cases against Amazon, HTC and Pantech Wireless all filed in the Northern District of Illinois. Those cases are stayed in district court pending the resolution of this case, which has created significant costs through attorney fees and significant loss of royalty revenue.

More Dreck on Patent Trolls from Attorneys Cozying Up to Silicon Valley

Principe and Rudroff unfortunately regurgitate much of the misguided dialogue, which has done nothing to serve this country except to decimate its patent system in recent years. In the view of the authors, patent trolls, or patent assertion entities (PAEs) (which the authors note is the less pejorative term), provide no market value and often enforce software or business method patents which have questionable validity. Of course, it is worth noting that in its 2016 study on PAEs, the Obama Federal Trade Commission called the term “patent troll” both unhelpful and prejudicial, and also specifically recognized that PAEs can and do play a valuable role in the market. So the conclusions of Principe and Rudroff are not supported by even an FTC study commissioned for the purpose of condemning patent trolls. 

Legislation Introduced in House to Repeal the PTAB and the AIA

There are 13 sections to Massie’s bill, many of which are geared towards the abolition of various statutes of the AIA. Perhaps the most salient portion of the proposed bill are sections regarding the abolishment of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) as well as the elimination of both inter partes review (IPR) and post-grant review (PGR) proceedings currently conducted by the PTAB. As the bill states, both IPR and PGR proceedings “have harmed the progress of science and the useful arts by subjecting inventors to serial challenges to patents.” The bill also recognizes that those proceedings have been invalidating patents at an unreasonably high rate and that patent rights should adjudicated in a judicial proceeding and not in the unfair adjudication proceedings which occur within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Ex parte reexamination proceedings would be preserved by this bill as well.

House Small Business Committee Holds Hearing on IP in Digital Economy With a Mostly Anti-Patent Panel

On the morning of Wednesday, July 11th, the House Small Business Committee held a hearing titled Innovation Nation: How Small Businesses in the Digital Technology Industry Use Intellectual Property. Though the witness panel was not quite as one-sided as those seen testifying in front of the House IP Subcommittee in recent years, an informed observer could not help but conclude that yet another opportunity to seriously address the damaged state of the U.S. patent system was missed to the detriment of many of the small businesses which the committee purports to protect.