When the America Invents Act was enacted, one of the biggest questions facing petitioners was the scope of the estoppel set forth in 35 U.S.C. § 315(e). While IPR was expected to provide a cheaper, more efficient method of challenging the validity of a patent, what would the challenger be giving up?
The statute provides that for any patent claim addressed in a final written IPR decision the petitioner (or real party in interest), may not request, maintain, or assert that any such claim is invalid on a ground that the petitioner “raised or reasonably could have raised” during the IPR in any proceeding before the patent office, or in any action in the district courts or the ITC. 35 U.S.C. § 315(e). The legislative history of the statute suggests that Congress intended a broad application of estoppel. See, e.g., 157 Cong. Rec. S1375, 1358 (Daily Ed. March 8, 2011) (Statement of Senator Grassley) (indicating that inter partes review “will completely substitute for at least the patents-and-printed publications portion of the civil litigation”).