Inventor’s Uncorroborated Testimony Not Sufficient to Swear Behind Reference

Attempting to “swear behind” an alleged prior art reference has been common practice in IPRs, going back to the first IPR, Garmin Int’l, Inc. v. Cuozzo Speed Tech. LLC, IPR2012-00001 (PTAB 2013), aff’d sub nom. In re Cuozzo Speed Tech., LLC, 793 F.3d 1268 (Fed. Cir. 2015), aff’d sub nom., Cuozzo Speed Tech., LLC v. Lee, 136 S. Ct. 2131 (2016). In that case, Cuozzo was unsuccessful in swearing behind (for failure to exercise reasonable diligence toward reduction to practice), and as we have discussed, patent owners are often unsuccessful in these efforts, for failure to satisfy the legal requirements for proving an earlier invention date. Continue Reading

IPR and Estoppel after SAS Institute

The Supreme Court held on April 24, 2018 that if the Patent Office institutes and inter partes review (IPR) proceeding, it must issue a final written decision with respect to the patentability of every patent claim challenged by the petitioner. SAS Institute, Inc. v. Iancu, (discussed in greater detail here). Within days, the Patent Office issued Guidance on the impact of SAS on AIA Trial Proceedings explaining the procedures it intends to implement in view of the Court’s decision. The resulting changes are likely to be extensive, both in IPR practice and in the scope of estoppel that litigations in parallel proceedings will need to consider. Continue Reading

Patent Office Proposes to Jettison BRI in AIA Trials

The Patent Office today issued a press release of its notice of proposed rulemaking that would replace the broadest reasonable interpretation standard the Patent Trial and Appeal Board applies to construe unexpired patent claims and proposed substitute (amended) claims in AIA trial proceedings with the Phillips standard applied in patent cases before federal district courts and the International Trade Commission (ITC). The Office also proposes to amend the rules “to add that the Office will consider any prior claim construction determination concerning a term of the involved claim in a civil action, or an ITC proceeding, that is timely made of record in an [AIA trial] proceeding.” Any proposed changes adopted in a final rule would be applied retroactively to pending AIA trials. Continue Reading

Tribal Sovereign Immunity Alone Cannot Protect Patents from IPR

In late March, the Federal Circuit issued an order staying the PTAB proceedings concerning numerous related IPRs of patents issued to Allergan, Inc. (“Allergan”), but assigned to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe (“the Tribe”). These IPRs were headed toward a final hearing on the merits previously scheduled for April 3rd. In those IPRs, the PTAB denied the Tribe’s motions to terminate the proceedings based upon the Tribe’s sovereign immunity. Mylan Pharma Inc. v. Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, Case IPR2016-01127, Paper 130 (February 23, 2018). This post explains the PTAB’s decision that the court will now review on appeal. Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Remands PTAB Decision to Assess Dependent Claim Patentability

In MaxLinear Inc. v. CF Crespe LLC the Federal Circuit ruled that the PTAB did not address arguments concerning patentability of certain dependent claims of the patent at issue separate from the corresponding independent claims, and vacated and remanded the PTAB’s final written decision. Continue Reading

Motion to Amend Substituting Claims Granted in Full, Possibly Reflecting the Change Wrought By Aqua Products

The Board recently granted a motion to amend, to replace unpatentable claims with proposed substitute claims, a rare occurrence that may signal a change compelled by Aqua Products (summarized here). In Apple, Inc. v. Realtime Data, LLC, Case No. IPR2016-01737 (PTAB March 13, 2018), the Board determined that all challenged claims were unpatentable and then granted the patent owner’s contingent motion to amend with respect to all proposed substitute claims.  Based on a USPTO study on motions to amend (see Graph III here), only four motions to amend substituting claims were granted in full before September 30, 2017, mere days before the Federal Circuit issued its en banc decision in Aqua Products. Continue Reading

The Supreme Court Finds IPR Proceedings Constitutional

Inter partes review (IPR) is a procedure that allows a party to challenge the validity of an issued patent based on prior art patents or printed publications. IPRs first became available in 2013 following passage of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. Some have questioned whether this post-grant review of patent validity is constitutional. Today, the United States Supreme Court declared that neither Article III of the Constitution nor the Seventh Amendment right to trial by jury precluded such reviews by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).  Continue Reading

Supreme Court Decides that IPR Final Decisions Must Address All Challenged Claims

On April 24, 2018, the Supreme Court issued its decision in SAS Institute, Inc. v. ComplementSoft, LLC, holding that if the Patent Office institutes an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding, it must issue a final written decision with respect to the patentability of every patent claim challenged by the petitioner. The Court reversed the Federal Circuit’s judgment, which upheld the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) common practice of instituting review on some, but not all challenged claims, and then issuing a final written decision addressing only the claims for which review was instituted. Continue Reading

Claim Term Read Out by PTAB Constituted “Harmless Error”

In a recent non-precedential decision, Snap-on Inc. v. Milwaukee Elec. Tool Corp., No. 2017-1305, 2018 WL 935454 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 16, 2018), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s final written decisions in several IPRs that upheld challenged claims of Milwaukee Tool patents as nonobvious, although the court determined that the PTAB erred in construing a disputed claim term. Continue Reading

Play the Claim

Monsanto Technology LLC v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. Appeal 2017-1032 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 5, 2018), illustrates “[t]he life of a patent solicitor has always been a hard one.” [1] The case concerns an inter partes reexamination of a Monsanto patent in which the Patent Office concluded the claimed subject matter was inherently described in an earlier DuPont patent. The Patent Office reached this conclusion because DuPont presented during the reexamination its unpublished data regarding experiments described in its earlier patent. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Continue Reading

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