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Posts Tagged: "Return Mail v. USPS"

Celgene Corp. v. Peter: Should the Federal Circuit Leave PTAB ‘Patent Takings’ Issue for Another Day?

Nearly four months ago, the Federal Circuit for the first time addressed the applicability of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to IPRs, holding in Celgene Corp v. Peter “that the retroactive application of inter partes review (IPR) proceedings to pre-America Invents Act (AIA) patents is not an unconstitutional taking under the Fifth Amendment” Celgene Corp. v. Peter, 931 F.3d 1342, 1362 (Fed. Cir. 2019). Since then, the court has continued to reject similar Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)-related Takings Clause claims on the merits. E.g., Collabo Innovations v. Sony Corp., No. 2018-1311 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 5, 2019). Unsurprisingly, Celgene filed a request for an en banc rehearing, and the government has just this week filed its response. Both Celgene’s en banc petition and the government’s response address the merits of Celgene’s constitutional claim—but as we hinted at in an earlier article analyzing the Celgene decision, there is a serious question whether the Federal Circuit should have even reached the merits of the Takings Clause issue in its panel opinion. In light of Supreme Court Takings Clause precedent, the Federal Circuit may want to either request supplemental briefing to decide whether it should have addressed the constitutional question in the first place, or potentially even revise the panel opinion and leave this issue to be decided in another case.

SCOTUS Ruling in Return Mail Delivers Blow to Government Use of IPRs

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Return Mail, Inc. v. United States Postal Service in which the 6-3 majority held that the U.S. government doesn’t qualify as a “person” for the purposes of petitioning the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to institute patent validity proceedings under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA). The majority opinion, penned by Justice Sonia Sotomayor and joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, followed Court precedent supporting the presumption that the government isn’t a “person,” while finding the Postal Service’s arguments to the contrary to be unpersuasive. Justice Stephen Breyer penned a dissent, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan, in which he found that Congress intended to include the government as a “person” when passing the AIA.

Return Mail Reaction: Patent Bar Sampling Narrowly Favors Finding for Petitioner

On February 19, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Return Mail Inc. v. United States Postal Service—one of two IP cases the Court heard that week. The courtroom for the Return Mail hearing was particularly full of press because it was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s first hearing following a recent hiatus to have nodules on her lungs removed. The case asks whether the federal government constitutes a “person” for the purposes of instituting post grant review proceedings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA). As reported earlier this week, the justices appeared to be dissatisfied with arguments from counsel on both sides—and skeptical that Congress had any view on the issue to begin with—but they arguably pushed back more against the government’s position. As always, IPWatchdog reached out to the patent bar for their take on the arguments. Like the questioning, the predictions were mixed and reveal no clear path, but a narrow holding in favor of Return Mail could be likely.

Return Mail v. USPS Oral Arguments: Both Sides Struggle in Robust Questioning at Supreme Court

On Tuesday, February 19, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Return Mail Inc. v. United States Postal Service, a case that asks the nation’s highest court to determine whether the federal government constitutes a “person” for the purposes of instituting review proceedings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA). Although the Supreme Court Justices appeared to be dissatisfied with arguments from counsel for either side, they arguably pushed back more against the USPS’ position. All Justices apart from Justice Clarence Thomas played an active role in questioning.

Other Barks & Bites for Friday, February 15

This week in Other Barks & Bites: the USPTO appoints a new Chief Information Officer; Apple uses Qualcomm chips in Germany while American professors urge the ITC to deny exclusion of iPhones found to infringe Qualcomm patent claims; two important IP cases will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court next week; the EU approves copyright reforms, including the hotly-debated Article 13; Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Alfonso Ribeiro runs into issues at U.S. Copyright Office; Facebook could owe billions in fines for consumer data practices; a jury verdict dings Walmart for nearly $100 million in trademark infringement case; and Google announces multi-billion dollar plan to expand offices and data centers across the United States.