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Posts Tagged: "post grant proceedings"

Limiting Section 325(d) Delegation Will Ensure a More Predictable Inter Partes Review Process

Congress created Inter Partes Review (IPR) to weed out clearly invalid patents that would not have been issued had the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) known about certain prior art. However, USPTO Director Iancu should consider limiting his delegated authority in 35 U.S.C. § 325(d) to prior art that was not presented to the USPTO during examination. As such, all references in the prosecution record would be presumed to have been fully considered by the examiner and could not form any part of a post grant petition. This change would exercise the discretion provided by Congress to its fullest, preserve USPTO resources by not reconsidering the Office’s prior decisions, and restore some predictability to the U.S. patent system.

PTAB Grants Additional Briefing to Consider the Impact of USPTO’s Revised 101 Guidance

The PTAB not only assented to Mirror Imaging’s suggestion that a five-page brief be entered in advance of the hearing but added that parties may submit one brief for each of the four CBM review proceedings which were petitioned by Fidelity… This could be a pivotal moment in the history of the PTAB specifically, and the USPTO more generally. If Director Iancu can achieve the goal of having the Patent Office speak with one voice, with patent examiners and the PTAB all following the same law and guidance, he will have achieved a united Patent Office that has been elusive, but desperately needed.

Is the Government a ‘Person’? NYIPLA tells SCOTUS it depends

After reviewing the way the term “person” is used throughout the statute it is clear that in some provisions of the Patent Act, the term necessarily should be interpreted to include the government (e.g., 35 U.S.C. § 296(a), expressly including government in the definition of “person”), while in other provisions the term “person” should be interpreted to exclude the government (see, e.g., 35 U.S.C. §§ 3(a) and 6(a), which clearly exclude the governmental entities like the USPS, but would include individuals in the government’s employ). Accordingly, reliance on universal definitions from the Dictionary Act, 1 U.S.C. §§ 1 and 8, governing the U.S. Code in general, and likewise on other general definitions of “persons” from relevant case law (e.g., Cooper), may well cause inadvertent problems with respect to the Patent Act. Rather, as set forth below, the answer to the question posed by this case should depend on the legislative context relating to creation of various post-issuance patent challenge proceedings and the PTO’s longstanding interpretation of “person” to include the governmental entities for purposes of ex parte  and inter partes reexaminations.

Constitutional Separation of Powers & Patents of Invention: Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC

Despite potentially relevant Supreme Court precedent in Thomas and Granfinanciera, the better view under the weight of Supreme Court precedent with respect to patent validity, absent the recent decision by the Court in Oil States, is that determination of the validity of issued patents does not include the government as a party and, therefore, only private rights are involved.  Jurisdiction should, therefore, be solely within Article III, and preclude final determinations of patent validity as they currently exist under the AIA, as well as other post-issuance adjudication, such as interference proceedings and ex parte reexamination.  Statutory provisions for post-grant examination at the Patent Office should be limited to an advisory capacity as an adjunct to a federal district court and address only issues of fact.  Such factual determinations coming from the Patent Office should be subject to review for substantial evidence by a district court in order to pass constitutional muster under Article III. However, given that issued patents are deemed to be “public rights” and that IPRs have been upheld as constitutionally valid under Oil States, there may be no limit to the power Congress can grant to the Patent Office over the validity of patents, potentially usurping any role for the judiciary in this regard under Article III.

Iancu: Major PTAB Initiatives Rolled Out, Time to Assess Changes and Stakeholder Reaction

Director Iancu did not make much, if any, news speaking at PPAC today. He did, however, indicate that at least for now his major initiatives to reform the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) have been rolled out, albeit with the last phase still in proposed rule form. Director Iancu indicated that he believes it is necessary now to carefully assess the implementation of these PTAB reforms and consider stakeholder reaction to the changes.

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.

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.

Comcast Invalidates Rovi Patents at PTAB that Previously Secured Limited Exclusion Order at ITC

Perhaps Rovi will take the opportunity to test the waters with the newly created Precedential Opinion Panel (POP), which is intended to bring uniformity between examination procedures and the PTAB at the USPTO. USPTO Director Andrei Iancu has promulgated new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and new claim interpretations rules will soon be in effect at the PTAB. A patent litigator by training, Director Iancu seems very interested in the PTAB giving other tribunals that have previously considered validity matters due consideration, something the PTAB has rarely, if ever, done. With the creation of the POP, and new SOPs that give the Director the authority to make decisions of the PTAB precedential at his discretion, this string of Rovi cases could present a very interesting test case on whether the PTAB actually will provide deference to tribunals that have previously considered validity issues, or whether the PTAB with its lower threshold for invalidity will continue to be the court of last resort for infringers who have lost elsewhere. 

Service Starts § 315(b) Time-Bar Even If Complaint Involuntarily Dismissed Without Prejudice

In Bennett Regulator Guards, Inc. v. Atlanta Gas Light Co. the Federal Circuit ruled the time-bar for filing a petition for inter partes review in Section 315(b) begins to run as soon as a complaint for infringement is served in district court, regardless of whether the complaint is involuntarily or voluntarily dismissed or is ultimately successful on the merits. There are no exceptions to the statutory time limit for filing a petition for inter partes review in 35 U.S.C. § 315(b).

USPTO Substantially Revises PTAB Standard Operating Procedures

Earlier today the USPTO announced the substantial revision of Standard Operating Procedures (“SOPs”) for the paneling of matters before the PTAB (SOP1) and precedential and informative decisions (SOP2). The revisions deliver upon the repeated promises of USPTO Director Andrei Iancu to increase transparency, predictability, and reliability across the USPTO. These new SOPs update the procedures based upon feedback the Office received from stakeholders, courts, legislators, and six years of experience with AIA trial proceedings. These new SOPs are a major change to how PTAB panels will be comprised, and how precedential opinions will be designated. Given Director Iancu’s speeches, actions and apparent desire to have a more patent owner and innovator friendly Patent Office, these revisions will likely be game changing.

IPR Petitioner Bears Burden of Demonstrating Real Parties in Interest are Listed and Petitions are Not Time-Barred

Though the Board did not specify which party bore the burden of demonstrating that all real parties in interest were identified in the petition, it appeared to place that burden on the patent owner. In vacating that decision, the Federal Circuit indicated that the petitioner bears the ultimate burden of persuasion of demonstrating that all real parties in interest are listed in the petition and, thus, the petition is not time-barred under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b); that burden never shifts to the patent owner.

The Updated PTAB Trial Practice Guide – Not Quite There Yet

While the changes to the Trial Practice Guide begin to move the rules in the right direction, more is needed before post-grant proceedings will be accepted as neutral to all parties.  The PTAB should endeavor to adopt the time-honored burdens, presumptions and procedures used in the district courts for trying patent cases whenever reasonably possible.  Petitioners should be required to prove that the art upon which they rely is not cumulative to that previously before the USPTO, a patent owner’s Preliminary Response presenting evidence raising genuine issues of material fact should be treated as it would be if presented in opposition to a summary judgment motion brought in the courts, and the presiding panel should determine witness credibility by hearing testimony and cross examination live.

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?

Why should we encourage generics to challenge pharma patents?

What was the federal government thinking when Hatch-Waxman originally passed. Why would Congress incentivize generic manufacturers to challenge the patents of pharmaceutical companies? It is the same insidious thought process underlying Hatch-Waxman seen underlying the justification for post grant challenges of all patents at the USPTO. How absurd is it that those who question the need for incentive to innovate are so eager to provide incentive to challenge patents?