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Posts Tagged: "VoIP-Pal"

Federal Circuit Shoots Down Apple Bid to Strike Certain Voip-Pal Claims Upheld by PTAB

In the latest episode of a long-running saga between Apple and Voip-Pal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Friday denied Apple’s request to reverse the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) determination that 15 claims of Voip-Pal’s voice over IP communications patents were not invalid for obviousness. The Court also affirmed the PTAB’s sanctions order, which Apple had appealed because the Board did not enter adverse judgment against Voip-Pal or vacate the final written decisions and assign a new panel. The opinion was authored by Judge Reyna.

VoIP-Pal Implores Full CAFC to Review Whether a Rule 12 Motion Based on Section 101 Can Be Decided Before Claim Construction

Last week, VoIP-Pal.com, Inc. filed a combined petition for panel rehearing and rehearing en banc with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) asking for review of a Rule 36 judgment in VoIP-Pal.Com, Inc. v. Twitter, Inc. That judgment affirmed a decision of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that resolved a claim construction dispute in the context of a motion to dismiss under Section 101 as per Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure prior to claim construction. In the petition, VoIP-Pal asserted that the Rule 36 judgment conflicted with CAFC precedent and “the time has come for this court to reconsider whether a Rule 12 motion based on §101 should be decided before claim construction.”

DOJ Brief to CAFC Slamming Apple Highlights PTAB Code of Conduct Problem

Andrei Iancu, the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), has a real mess on his hands. This particular mess relates to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the astonishing reality that the Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) on the PTAB are not bound by any Code of Judicial Conduct, as is applicable to Article III federal judges. Instead, PTAB Judges are only bound by the same ethics standard that applies to all other employees, which requires them to recuse themselves from any decisions relating to former employers for one year. That is how several PTAB Judges have been able to adjudicate inter partes review (IPR) and covered business method (CBM) challenges filed by a former litigation client – Apple, Inc. What is scandalous is the dismissal of this behavior in the recently filed amicus brief filed at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit by the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) in the matter of Apple, Inc. v. Voip-Pal, Inc., Nos. 2018-1456, 2018-1457. In this case there are no clean hands, although you can certainly feel for the patent owner.

Other Barks & Bites: USPTO Updates AIA Trial Practice Guide, VoIP-Pal Beats Four Apple IPR Petitions, and China is Top Filer of Blockchain Patents

This week in Other Barks & Bites: the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issues an updated AIA Trial Practice Guide following SAS Institute v. Iancu; the AM-FM Act is introduced into Congress to update copyright law for terrestrial radio stations; VoIP-Pal.com defeats remaining IPRs challenging its patents at the institution phase; the Copyright Royalty Board announces cost of living adjustments in certain royalty rates; a Senate report shows that U.S. law enforcement didn’t adequately respond to Chinese IP theft for 20 years; China outpaces the rest of the world in terms of blockchain patent filing activities; and Apple joins Intel’s antitrust actions against Fortress Investment Group’s patent assertions.

PTAB Brass steps into IPR to decide Apple motion for sanctions

On August 22nd, an order was entered in the inter partes review (IPR) proceedings currently ongoing between between VoIP-Pal and Cupertino, CA-based consumer device giant Apple Inc. The order removed the panel of administrative patent judges (APJs) that had been adjudicating the IPR, replacing them with Deputy Chief APJ Scott Boalick and Vice Chief APJs Jacqueline Bonilla and Michael Tierney. This is the second time the panel of APJs has been completely changed in this particular IPR proceeding. Originally, the panel had consisted of APJs Barbara Benoit, Lynne Pettigrew and Stacy Beth Margolies. Although no explanation was provided (as is typical with the PTAB) the panel was changed a few weeks after we reported that APJ Margolies had previously represented Apple in patent infringement proceedings in U.S. district court.

Still No Answer From PTAB on Apple Sanctions Request Against VoIP-Pal After Six Months

And yet, despite this apparent vindication of VoIP-Pal’s patents against the strongest of odds in an executive branch tribunal where APJ panels are stacked in the interest of achieving policy objectives, VoIP-Pal and its current CEO Emil Malak still find themselves to be stuck in patent purgatory over a sanctions motion which the PTAB hasn’t decided for more than half a year… The fact that ex parte communications have caused such a stir in Apple’s IPRs against VoIP-Pal is very interesting given how the PTAB has reacted to allegations of such communications in the past. Anyone who followed the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s case at the PTAB will likely remember that the agency revoked the tribe’s ability to file motions in response to a request for discovery on the potential of political pressure caused by ex parte communications between APJs assigned to the case and their superiors at the PTAB. The PTAB denied that motion and restricted the St. Regis tribe’s ability to file motions within a month of St. Regis’ discovery request. That the PTAB has dragged its feet for more than six months on Apple’s request for sanctions on ex parte communications without the same level of punitive response is very telling.

If it Looks Like a Kangaroo, Hops Like a Kangaroo…

What’s abundantly clear – and disastrous for both the patent system and the public – is that the PTAB’s Kafkaesque rules for complaining about anything outside of what an expert stated in a submitted declaration, including allegations of judicial misconduct, is undermining the public’s already marginal confidence in the entire IPR process. Even Franz Kafka himself would be bewildered by a process which requires one to seek permission to complain – from the very body about whom a litigant is complaining.

Allegations of ex parte PTAB Communications raise more questions of due process, APA violations

Apple raised concerns of due process implications of ex parte communications and their impact on its trial. Apple’s motion demonstrates that PTAB does not publish ex parte communications into the administrative record as required by the APA, which is the exact issue Saint Regis requested discovery on and was denied… The PTAB’s decision to largely prevent the Saint Regis tribe from filing any additional papers in the case to which they are a party seems remarkable given the fact that the PTAB has opened up the proceedings of the Saint Regis trials to allow amicus briefings from third parties with an interest in the case. So, it would seem that the PTAB seems more interested in giving the agency’s supporters a say in these cases than the actual patent owner whose property rights are on the line, hardly the result one would anticipate if the PTAB were a court operating with any true sense of justice.

VoIP-Pal.com prevails in 7 separate IPRs, PTAB finds no evidence of invalidity

In two final decisions and five decisions on IPR institution, the PTAB panel of administrative patent judges (APJs) found that petitioners Apple and AT&T did not meet the required burden of proof to invalidate two VoIP-Pal patents. In the final written decisions, Apple and AT&T failed to prove invalidity of the challenged claims by a preponderance of the evidence. Similarly, the PTAB found that neither party had shown a reasonable likelihood of invalidity at the institution stage in the other cases. Along with last November’s denial of an IPR petition filed by Unified Patents, the VoIP-Pal patents have been unscathed through a total of eight IPR petitions.