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Reluctant to Reverse, the Federal Circuit Offers the PTAB a Mulligan

The Federal Circuit recently vacated the PTAB’s decisions in three interferences. Board of Trustees of Leland Stanford Jr. Univ. v. Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong, Appeal 2015-2011 (Fed. Cir. June 27, 2017). These interferences concern which parties’ inventors first conceived methods for diagnosing fetal aneuploidies using cell-free fetal DNA from maternal blood samples. The PTAB … Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Decide Whether IPRs Violate Article III and the Seventh Amendment

The Supreme Court issued an order on June 12, 2017, indicating it will review the Federal Circuit’s judgment in Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Green’s Energy Group, LLC, 639 Fed. Appx. 639 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (link).  The petition presented three questions, of which the Court will address only one: Whether inter partes review—an adversarial … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit to PTAB: Prior Art Cannot Anticipate Absent Disclosure of All Claimed Features

In Nidec Motor Corp. v. Zhongshan Broad Ocean Motor Co., No. 2016-1900 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 14, 2017), the Federal Circuit issued a precedential opinion explaining that a prior art reference cannot anticipate a patent claim if the reference does not disclose all claimed features. That straightforward explanation of black letter law was prompted by a PTAB … Continue Reading

Claims Construed and Canceled as Patent Nears its Expiration Date

In MPHJ Technology Investments, LLC v. Ricoh Americas Corp., Appeal 2016-1243 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 13, 2017), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s final written decision canceling all eight claims in U.S. Patent No. 8,488,173. The patent issued from an application that was the tenth continuation-in-part of a 20-year-old application that relies for priority on seven … Continue Reading

District Court Interprets the IPR Estoppel Provision Narrowly

Update (Jan. 13, 2017): The Delaware district court issued a short order on Jan. 11, 2017, maintaining the court’s earlier decision discussed in the post below. An AIA trial is a relatively-inexpensive, partial substitute for challenging the validity of a patent. Yet, prospective AIA trial petitioners routinely struggle with the potential estoppel effect of not raising prior … Continue Reading

The Federal Circuit’s Disagreement About What Constitutes “Substantial Evidence”

As a standard of appellate review, “substantial evidence” is not peculiar to the Federal Circuit’s review of patent decisions from district courts and the Patent Office. All circuit courts are familiar with that review standard. They apply it routinely in deciding appeals. The standard originated with appeals of jury verdicts, in recognition of the role … Continue Reading

Patent Office Proposes to Increase AIA Trial Fees

In the October 3, 2016, Federal Register, the Patent Office published a notice of proposed rulemaking to adjust various fees the Office charges for its services, including 18% to 56% increases for AIA trial fees (as shown below). According to the notice, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board has received more than 4,700 AIA trial … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Again Refuses to Review PTAB’s Application of the Time Bar to AIA Petitions

An updated discussion of this issue is available here: Federal Circuit to Take AIA Time Bar Issue En Banc The Federal Circuit has again concluded it may not review the PTAB’s institution of inter partes review (IPR) over a patent owner’s objections that the IPR petition is time barred. Wi-Fi One, LLC v. Broadcom Corp., … Continue Reading

PTAB Bar Association Officially Launched

We are pleased to share that the new Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) Bar Association launched Friday, September 16, 2016.  The organization will provide a forum for communications between the legal community and PTAB officials and its Administrative Patent Judges (APJs), particularly to share best practices and stay abreast of the rule making, procedure and jurisprudence … Continue Reading

Who Must Bear the Burden of Proof Regarding Patentability of Amended Claims?

On August 12, 2016, the Federal Circuit issued an order vacating its decision in In re Aqua Products, Inc., 823 F.3d 1369 (Fed. Cir. 2016), and reinstating the appeal after granting the aggrieved patent owner’s petition for rehearing en banc.  We wrote about this decision a few months ago: The Federal Circuit confirmed in a … Continue Reading

The Possibility of Inconsistent Results Inherent to Congress’s Design of AIA Trial Reviews

In Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v. Lee, the Supreme Court recognized that a “district court may find a patent claim to be valid, and the agency may later cancel that claim in its own review.”  The Court also recognized that because of the different evidentiary burdens in court versus before the agency—the Patent Office—“the possibility … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Vacates Federal Circuit Decision that Refused to Review PTAB’s Application of the Time Bar to AIA Trials

An updated discussion of this issue is available here: Federal Circuit to Take AIA Time Bar Issue En Banc In a non-precedential decision late last year, the Federal Circuit dismissed a patent owner’s appeal of a Patent Trial and Appeal Board decision that refused to apply a statutory time-bar to deny institution of an inter … Continue Reading

On the Clock: Appellate Standard of Reviewing PTAB’s AIA Trial Decisions

Now that Cuozzo Speed Techs., LLC v. Lee has been submitted to the Supreme Court, the next issue that may well make its way to the Court is the propriety of the Federal Circuit’s standard of reviewing the PTAB’s AIA trial decisions. Currently, the Federal Circuit reviews these decisions for substantial evidence. At least four … Continue Reading

No Appellate Review, No Matter: District Court Invalidates Patent After the PTAB Denies CBM Review

NRT Technology Corporation was not successful in petitioning the PTAB to institute CBM review of U.S. Patent No. 6,081,792, but was successful in moving a district court to dismiss an infringement action concerning the same patent on the basis that the patent claims ineligible (abstract) subject matter. Global Cash Access, Inc. v. NRT Tech. Corp., … Continue Reading

The Board’s Prerogative to Change its Mind May Doom Petition after Institution

In TriVascular, Inc. v. Samuels, Appeal No. 2015-1631 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 5, 2016), a unanimous Federal Circuit panel affirmed a PTAB final written decision that concluded the petitioner (TriVascular) did not meet its burden of demonstrating the challenged claims were unpatentable during inter partes review. TriVascular successfully petitioned the Board to institute the review after … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Affirms PTAB’s Victory on Invalidity Ground the Petition Did Not Even Present

In SightSound Techs., LLC v. Apple Inc., Appeal Nos. 2015-1159, -1160 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 15, 2015), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s final written decisions in two CBM patent review proceedings that canceled claims in SightSound’s patents as being obvious over prior art (referred to as the CompuSonics publications), even though Apple did not present … Continue Reading

PTAB Refuses to Terminate AIA Trial Despite Applying the Estoppel Provision to Dismiss the Petitioner

The PTAB recently issued an order applying the estoppel provision of the AIA (35 U.S.C. § 325(e)(1)) to dismiss a petitioner from covered business method (CBM) patent review proceedings a few days before a consolidated final hearing. Apple Inc. v. Smartflash LLC, CBM2015-00015, Paper 49 (PTAB Nov. 4, 2015) (common order involving CBM2015-00016 and CBM2015-00018). … Continue Reading

A 200% Increase in Appeals of Patent Office Decisions to the Federal Circuit

In August of 2012, the Federal Register published the Patent Office’s estimate of the number of AIA trial petitions the Office then expected to receive in each of the three succeeding fiscal years (each such year ends September 30). In October of 2015, the Patent Office published a report of the number of trial petitions … Continue Reading

PTAB Applies the Estoppel Provision of the AIA to Deny an IPR Petition

The PTAB recently denied institution of an inter partes review (IPR) on the basis of the estoppel provision of the AIA (35 USC § 315(e)). Apotex Inc. v. Wyeth LLC, IPR2015-00873, Paper 8 (PTAB Sept. 16, 2015). The decision is not appealable, and is significant because it offers guidance on how the PTAB will construe this … Continue Reading

Move the Court to Award Attorney Fees Incurred in a Parallel PTAB Proceeding

Today, when served with a complaint for patent infringement, the accused routinely petition the PTAB to review the patentability of the asserted claims. Often enough, the accused first identifies its invalidity positions and prior art to the Patent Owner through litigation pleadings and discovery. Indeed, many even seek to settle the litigation before either party … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Upholds PTAB’s Application of its Rules to Decide Motions to Amend

Earlier this week, we wrote about the post-hearing briefing the Federal Circuit invited in Microsoft Corp. v. Proxyconn, Inc., Case Nos. 2014-1542, -1543, Dkt. 49 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 13, 2015), and the questions it posed regarding the PTAB’s administration of inter partes review. The court issued its decision in that case yesterday, answering some of … Continue Reading
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