Posts Tagged: "PTAB"

CAFC Says Prior Art Reference Sufficiently Enabled Based on Applicant Admissions

As applied to Morsa’s application, the Court found that the specification made numerous admissions regarding the knowledge of a person of skill at the time of the invention. However, Judge Newman wrote in dissent that enablement of prior art must also come from the prior art, and that the majority improperly used information from the specification of the patent at issue to find that a prior art reference was enabling.

Covenant Not to Challenge in a Patent License Does Not Bar a PTAB Review

Covenant Not to Challenge clauses are common in patent licenses, including licenses that are part of post-litigation settlements. clause is seen as a benefit bargained for under a license agreement and constitutes part of the consideration obtained by the licensor for the license. The intended effect of such a clause is to allow the licensor to make an estoppel argument in the event that licensee does challenge the patent, in spite of its agreement not to do so. However, the PTAB thus concluded that without an express grant from Congress, it did not have the authority to recognize contractual estoppel as a bar to an inter partes review.

Kyle Bass IPR challenge moves foward, what does it mean for patent reform?

The first bit of good news for Bass came with respect to his IPR petition against Celgene Corporation. Celgene Corporation filed a motion for sanctions against the Coalition for Affordable Drugs on July 28, 2015. On September 25, 2015, the PTAB, in a decision authored by Administrative Patent Judge Michael Tierney, explained that the purpose of the America Invents Act (AIA) was to “encourage the filing of meritorious patentability challenges, by any person who is not the patent owner, in an effort to improve patent quality.” Given that Bass and the Coalition for Affordable Drugs did not own the patent in question the law allows these types of challenges. The PTAB also shot down the argument that financial motivation is at all relevant, explaining on some level financial motivation is what drives all IPR challenges.

Thoughts on Ex parte Boyden

A couple months ago I commented on Ex parte Khvorova, expressing disappointment in its analysis and concern over what this might mean since it is “the first PTAB decision in molecular biology since patenting in that field got turned upside down.” To follow up on these notions, and to give credit where credit is due, I wanted to briefly comment on Ex parte Boyden, which the PTAB issued September 2, 2015.

Only 1 in 20,631 ex parte appeals designated precedential by PTAB

PTAB decisions are predominately given one of three classifications: precedential, informative or routine. Only precedential decisions are to serve as binding authority. Informative decisions may serve as an authority but are not binding. Routine decisions may be cited as relevant but are not to be cited as an authority. Recent research indicates that, of the 20,631 ex parte appeal decisions issued in fiscal years 2013 or 2014, less than 0.04% (more specifically, 7 of the 20,631) were precedential or informative.

PTAB Wonderland: Statistics show Alice PTAB interpretation not favorable to patent applicants

The United States Supreme Court is commonly known to resolve difficult issues of law. Yet, Alice v. CLS Bank[ii], last year’s unanimous Supreme Court decision, has caused confusion about whether computer-implemented business methods and software innovations are patentable under 35 U.S.C. §101. The question of patentability of software-related innovations – even those involving merely implementations of business-related innovations – seemed…

Inter Partes Review and the Controversial Implications of the Kyle Bass Petitions

I will moderate what should be a lively discussion on the PTAB and inter partes review. I will be joined by Erich Spangenberg, advisor to Kyle Bass and the person some have described as “the most notorious patent troll in America.” Also joining me will be Q. Todd Dickinson, former Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office and current partner at Novak, Druce. Among other things we will discuss: (1) What will become of the Kyle Bass IPR petitions? (2) USPTO proposed rule changes and pilot programs (3)
Is Congress likely to legislatively reform IPRs?

IPR Petitioner Has Burden of Proving Prior Art Patent Entitled to Filing Date of Its Provisional

The Federal Circuit held that the Board correctly placed the burden on Dynamic to prove that Raymond was entitled to the filing date of its provisional application under § 119(e)(1). As the petitioner, Dynamic had the ultimate burden of persuasion to prove unpatentability by a preponderance of the evidence. As for the burden of production, Dynamic satisfied its initial burden by arguing that the claims were anticipated by Raymond under § 102(e)(2). However, this burden then shifted back to Dynamic when the patent owner provided evidence that the claimed invention was reduced to practice before Raymond’s filing date. The burden was then on Dynamic to prove that Raymond was entitled to an earlier effective date.

With dubious logic and inaccurate statements of law, PTAB denies another Kyle Bass IPR petition

The PTAB said that the full pilot study had not been made of record, which apparently also meant to the Board that the available description of the pilot study (described in the Kappos reference) was somehow not prior art. This reasoning, if you can call it that given that it was provided in only two short sentences, is extremely troubling. Clearly, the publication of a description of the pilot study would in and of itself be a publication that could be relied upon even if the entirety of the report was not available. Frankly, not considering a published description to be prior art flies in the face of volumes of Federal Circuit decisions on what it means to be a publication. The Kappos reference was a publication and to pretend that something described in that publication is not prior art is unbecoming the dignity of the Board.

PTAB refuses Volkswagen IPR petition against Marathon patent

In siding with the patent owner the PTAB explained that the petitioner insufficiently made a case that the claimed invention was obvious. A proper obviousness argument must articulate some rational underpinning to support a legal conclusion of obviousness. Unfortunately for Volkswagen, the PTAB saw only conclusions and impermissible hindsight in the IPR Petition. Ultimately, the PTAB was not persuaded that the Petition demonstrated a reasonable likelihood that Petitioner would prevail.

USPTO proposes pilot where a single APJ would make IPR institution decisions

Presently the USPTO has a panel of three APJs decide whether to institute a trial, and then normally has the same three-APJ panel conduct the trial, if instituted. Under the proposed pilot program the single APJ making the IPR institution decision would be on the panel conducting the IPR trial, joined by two other APJs not associated with the IPR institution decision. Regardless of efficiencies, having a single APJ make institution determinations is fraught with due process concerns because decision whether to institute an inter partes review is not appealable.

USPTO denies Kyle Bass IPR patent challenge against Acorda Therapeutics

The USPTO declined to initiate an inter partes review of two patents owned by Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. Acorda patents were challenged by the Coalition for Affordable Drugs, LLC, the entity formed by billionaire hedge fund manager Kyle Bass. I have to wonder whether this decision represents a shift in the worldview of the PTAB or whether they sought out a reason to deny the petition because it was filed by Kyle Bass. Unfortunately, I suspect these two denials have everything to do with who was behind the challenge and little to do with the merits of the challenge.

PTAB must evaluate district court claim construction to determine whether it is consistent with BRI

Even though the Board is generally not bound by the district court’s construction of claim terms, it does not mean that “it has no obligation to acknowledge that interpretation or to assess whether it is consistent with the broadest reasonable construction of the term.” Here, given that PI’s main argument was the proper interpretation of the term “coupled,” which was construed by the district court, the Board had an obligation “to evaluate that construction and to determine whether it was consistent with the broadest reasonable construction of the term.” Because the Board failed to address the district court’s interpretation of the term “coupled” and failed to provide adequate explanation for its decision to reject the claims as anticipated, the Court reversed and remanded.

Overview of USPTO proposed rule changes to practice before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board

USPTO proposed rule changes would amend the existing rules relating to trial practice for inter partes review (IPR), post-grant review (PGR), the transitional program for covered business method patents (CBM), and derivation proceedings. By in large, the Office decided to stick with BRI, but not when the challenged patent will soon expire. The USPTO also adopted the comments from those who expressed satisfaction with the Board’s current rules and practices for motions to amend, which means there will be a right to file a motion to amend but no right to amend if these proposed rules go final.

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 ).