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In a recent non-precedential decision, Snap-on Inc. v. Milwaukee Elec.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 The Patent Office reached this conclusion because DuPont presented during the reexamination its unpublished data regarding experiments described in its earlier patent.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

Collateral Estoppel Not Limited to Identical Claims

The equitable doctrine of collateral estoppel protects a party from having to re-litigate an issue that has already been fully and fairly adjudicated. In Nestlé USA, Inc. v. Steuben Foods, Inc. the Federal Circuit said that application of collateral estoppel is not limited to construing only identical patent claims; but instead, it extends to terms across related patents. Case No. 2017-1193 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 13, 2018). Continue Reading

Should I Stay or Should I Go? – Co-Pending IPR and Litigation Can Lead to Discovery Obligations

Fighting a war on two fronts is rarely an enviable strategic position. While district court judges do not always grant stays of patent infringement cases until resolution of co-pending inter partes reviews (IPR’s), accused infringers considering whether to request a stay of litigation should note the PTAB’s February 28, 2018, Order in Becton, Dickinson and Company v. B. Braun Melsungen AG, IPR2017-01586, -01587, -01588, -01589, and -01590Continue Reading

Is the PTAB Bound by a Prior Federal Circuit Claim Construction?

In Knowles Electronics LLC v. Cirrus Logic, Inc., No. 2016-2010 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 1, 2018), the Federal Circuit affirmed a PTAB decision that upheld an examiner’s rejection of claims for anticipation in an inter partes reexamination (IPX). The same claims had earlier been challenged, and determined to be not invalid (over different prior art), in an ITC decision that was also affirmed by the Federal Circuit. MEMS Tech. Berhad v. Int’l Trade Comm’n, 447 F. App’x 142 (Fed. Cir. 2011). The decision in the IPX appeal turned on construction of a particular claim term (“package”), and according to a dissent authored by Judge Newman, the court should have reversed the PTAB’s decision due to claim preclusion, because the court had earlier construed the same term differently. Continue Reading

Rituxan Patent Spared by Failure to Establish Product Label as “Printed Publication”

A patent relating to a method of treating rheumatoid arthritis using rituximab recently survived its fourth IPR challenge. Celltrion, Inc. v. Biogen, Inc., IPR2016-01614 (PTAB Feb. 21, 2018). The PTAB determined that the Petitioners failed to establish that the challenged claims of the patent were obvious over prior art, in part, because of the Petitioners’ failure to establish the prior art status of the product label for RITUXIN®, which contains rituximab. Continue Reading

Petitioner Failed to Show That Patent Owner’s Drug Product Package Insert Was a Printed Publication

On February 9, 2018, the PTAB denied Sandoz Inc.’s petition for inter partes review of U.S. Patent No. 9,512,216, a patent owned by AbbVie Biotechnology Ltd. The patent recites methods for treating moderate-to-severe chronic plaque psoriasis with adalimumab, a human anti-tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) antibody.  The methods of the claimed invention involve subcutaneously administering to a patient an initial dose of 80 mg of adalimumab, followed by 40 mg of adalimumab every other week starting one week after the initial dose.  The patent is one of several patents AbbVie owns that relate to its blockbuster autoimmune drug Humira.  Continue Reading

Precedential and Informative Board Decision on Serial IPR Petitions

Serial IPR petitions directed to previously-challenged patents account for many of the petitions filed with the PTAB; however, 35 U.S.C. § 325(d) provides the Board with discretion to reject petitions where the same, or substantially the same, prior art or arguments have already been presented to the USPTO.  The Board recently designated as precedential part of its decision in General Plastic Industrial Co. v. Canon Kabushiki Kaisha, Case IPR2016-01357, Paper 19 (6 September 2017), addressing factors to be considered in determining whether to institute review for a serial, or “follow-on” petition.  Petitioner General Plastic filed a first set of petitions seeking IPR of U.S. Patent No. 9,046,820 B1 (“the ’820 patent”) and U.S. Patent No. 8,909,094 B2 (“the ’094 patent”).  Institution of a trial was denied for each petition based upon the merits. Continue Reading

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