Judge Cheney of the United States International Trade Commission held that ITC Investigative Staff are not estopped from asserting invalidity of a patent based upon prior art that was previously asserted by a respondent in an IPR. See In the Matter of Certain Magnetic Tape Cartridges and Components Thereof, Inv. No. 337-TA-1058 at *106-107. While this is an initial determination that has not been adopted by the Commission, this determination creates a huge loophole limiting the effect of estoppel before the ITC.
Continue Reading IPR Estoppel Does Not Apply to ITC Investigative Staff

IPR and Estoppel after SAS Institute -  All or Nothing

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 IPR and Estoppel after SAS Institute

On April 24, 2018, the Supreme Court issued its decision in SAS Institute, Inc. v. Iancu, 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 Supreme Court Decides that IPR Final Decisions Must Address All Challenged Claims

In Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., No. 2017-1239 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 24, 2018), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s entry of adverse judgment against Patent Owner Arthrex, before instituting inter partes review. Specifically, the PTAB entered judgment after Arthrex had disclaimed all challenged claims, but before the PTAB decided whether to institute a trial. As a result of the PTAB’s adverse judgment, the Patent Owner is estopped, under 37 C.F.R. § 42.73(d)(3)(1), from obtaining another claim in a continuation application, for example, that is “not patentably distinct” from a canceled claim. Estoppel would not have applied if the PTAB would have instead decided not to institute the IPR.
Continue Reading Patent Owner Estoppel May Apply When Patent Owner Cancels Claims Before IPR Institution

As previously discussed in our post covering the state of IPR estoppel, initial district court decisions have varied regarding the scope of IPR estoppel applied to ground for invalidity not raised in a petition, but that could have been raised. Two recent decisions may show a trend toward uniformity.

In Cobalt Boats, LLC v. Sea Ray Boars, Inc., Judge Morgan of the Eastern District of Virginia ruled on motions in limine, including a motion regarding the scope of IPR estoppel. Case no. 2:15cv00021 (E.D. Va. June 5, 2017).
Continue Reading Two More District Courts Apply IPR Estoppel to Grounds Not Raised In Petition

The STRONGER (Support Technology & Research for Our Nation’s Growth and Economic Resilience) Patents Act of 2017 was recently introduced in the Senate.  The Act is an updated version of the STRONG Patents Act of 2015 that stalled in Congress.  Like its predecessor, the STRONGER Patents Act is designed to significantly modify the AIA trial proceedings at the PTAB.  Enactment of this Act would severely diminish the usefulness of AIA proceedings. 
Continue Reading Enactment of the STRONGER Patents Act Would Severely Limit PTAB Proceedings

In three recent decisions, the Federal Circuit reiterated the importance of determining estoppel in PTAB proceedings on a claim-by-claim basis.

In the earlier related decisions, In re Affinity Labs of Texas, LLC [1] , 856 F.3d 883 (Fed. Cir. 2017) and In re Affinity Labs of Texas, LLC [2], 856 F.3d 902 (Fed. Cir. 2017), the court addressed the effects of a district court judgment and settlement of a district court litigation on pending pre-AIA reexamination proceedings.
Continue Reading Look to the Claims for Estoppel

Conceptual road sign on decision making

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”).Continue Reading AIA Estoppel – 7 Things We Know So Far

Apple Icon ImagesA little more than a month after the Delaware district court narrowly interpreted the IPR estoppel provision to suggest that it may not be necessary to include all known grounds so as to avoid estoppel in district court litigation, the same court issued a decision suggesting that the IPR estoppel provision may not be so narrow after all.  The decision adds to the growing confusion over the scope of the estoppel provision Congress wrote into the AIA.

On December 20, 2013, Parallel Networks Licensing, LLC (“Parallel Networks”) sued International Business Machines Corporation (“IBM”) in the Delaware district court for infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,894,554 (“the ‘554 Patent”) and 6,415,335 (“the ‘335 Patent”).  Parallel Networks Licensing, LLC v. International Bus. Machs. Corp., Case No. 13-2072 (D. Del.).  IBM answered and counterclaimed seeking declaratory judgments of non-infringement and invalidity based on anticipation and obviousness.
Continue Reading Joinder Does Not Prevent Application of IPR Estoppel Provision

Green Traffic Lights against Blue Sky Backgrounds with clipping path

Recently, the Federal District Court for the District of New Jersey allowed Purdue Pharma to assert invalidity arguments in the litigation that were previously submitted in an IPR petition, but upon which IPR review was not instituted. See Depomed Inc. v Purdue Pharma LP, Civil Action 13-571, Order (D.N.J. Nov. 4, 2016). The Court rejected the patent owner’s arguments that Section 315(e) of Title 35 estopped Purdue from raising these argument.
Continue Reading Purdue Not Estopped From Raising Invalidity Contentions at Trial That Were Submitted But Not Instituted During IPR