Posts Tagged: "partial institution"

Parlor Tricks and Shell Games: How the Invisible Hand of the PTAB Supports Challengers

After dissenting APJ James Arpin was mysteriously and without explanation removed from the case, replaced by APJ Thomas Giannetti. Perhaps there is an innocent explanation for what happened here, but in the secretive, backroom world of the PTAB innocent explanations are becoming harder and harder to envision. And, frankly, given how the PTAB has run amok for so long the tribunal has lost any legitimate claim to the benefit of doubt. If there is nothing nefarious going on, then why is it that the patent owner always seems to be on the wrong end of these procedural irregularities? Why is it that the invisible hand of the PTAB always winds up on the side of the scale that takes patent rights away?

Predicting SAS Institute v. Matal after SCOTUS Oral Arguments

My thoughts continue to be that the statute is very simple and mandates the PTAB to issue a final written decision on all claims challenged. This seemed to be consistent with what Justice Alito and Justice Gorsuch were saying during the oral arguments. However, Justice Sotomayor dominated questioning throughout the early stages of the oral argument, continually saying that what was being sought was a reversal of the Court’s decision in Cuozzo. Justice Breyer, who seemed clearly in favor of the respondent, sought to re-write the statute to find the actions of the PTAB to be in keeping with the text of the statute. Nevertheless, the oral arguments suggest there will be a split among the justices, perhaps along political lines (i.e., liberal wing vs. conservative wing). Should the conservative viewpoint of Justices Alito and Gorsuch prevail there is also a chance that the Supreme Court will rule that the PTAB cannot grant partial institutions… After the conclusion of the oral arguments, I reached out to a number of industry insiders to ask them to provide their thoughts and predictions, which are admittedly quite different than my own analysis. Their answers follow.

Prepare for More Estoppel if the Supreme Court Reverses Federal Circuit on Partial IPR Institutions

Partial institutions lessen the value of estoppel because the petitioner avoids estoppel on claims that were challenged but not instituted. The PTAB never issues a final written decision for these challenged-but-not-instituted claims. And because estoppel only applies to claims receiving a final written decision, these non-instituted claims escape the estoppel statute See, e.g., Shaw Industries Group v. Automated Creed Systems, 817 F.3d 1293, 1300 (Fed. Cir. 2016). In effect, the PTAB’s current practice saves a petitioner from estoppel on claims it had little chance of invalidating. Thus, under the current practice, a petitioner currently only risks estoppel on claims that it stands a good chance of invalidating. But if the Supreme Court decides as expected, estoppel will attach to all challenged claims of an instituted IPR. Final written decisions will more often include claims found valid, and a petitioner will no longer be able to avoid estoppel for some claims by relying on the PTAB to sort strong challenges from weak ones at the institution stage.