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PTAB Should Have Determined that Gravity Feed Display Design Patent is Obvious

In Campbell Soup Co. v. Gamon Plus, Inc. (Fed. Cir. Sept. 26, 2019), the Federal Circuit vacated the PTAB’s decision (discussed here) upholding the validity of Gamon’s design patent D621,645 (“the ‘645 patent”) for soup can display racks.  The court determined that substantial evidence did not support the Board’s finding that Linz is not a … Continue Reading

Fixing an Appointments Clause Violation

In Arthrex Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., Appeal 2018-2140 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 31, 2019), the Federal Circuit concluded that the PTAB’s Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) are “principal” officers and their appointment by the Secretary of Commerce therefore violates the Constitution’s Appointments Clause. The issue arose in an appeal of a decision by a panel … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Affirms Obviousness Decision by Board, Finds No APA Violation Based on New Characterization of Passage Providing Motivation to Combine

In Smith & Nephew, Inc. v. Arthrocare Corp., Appeal No. IPR2016-00918 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 21, 2019), the Federal Circuit affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s decision in an IPR to invalidate patent claims on the basis of obviousness, determining that the Board did not violate the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by describing the motivation … Continue Reading

A Reference is Publicly Accessible if a Person of Ordinary Skill in the Art Could Access the Reference

In a recent decision vacating the PTAB’s finding that a draft standard for video coding emailed to a listserv was not publicly accessible, the Federal Circuit again corrected the PTAB’s application of the legal standard to determine the public accessibility of prior art. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. v. Infobridge Pte. Ltd., case no. 2018-2007, 2018-2012, … Continue Reading

Corroboration Required to Prove Earlier Invention Date

As we have discussed (here and here), owners of pre-AIA patents may be able to “swear behind” alleged prior art references by providing evidence of an earlier invention date, but the inventors’ testimony concerning conception of the invention must be corroborated by independent evidence. In Kolcraft Enterprises, Inc. v. Graco Children’s Products, Inc., No. 2018-1259 … Continue Reading

PTAB Precedential Decisions on Discretion to Institute Inter Partes Review

In May 2019, the PTAB designated precedential two IPR decisions related to its discretion to institute inter partes review. In Valve Corp. v. Electronic Scripting Products, Inc., the Board denied institution under 35 U.S.C. § 314(a), applying the precedential General Plastic factors to deny institution of a follow-on petition.  See General Plastic Industrial Co., Ltd. … Continue Reading

USPTO to Patent Owners – Don’t Forget About Reexams and Reissues

Recently updated statistics from the USPTO provide little comfort for patent owners seeking to amend claims during an IPR proceeding.  The Motion to Amend Study, Installment 5 through FY2018, updated March 2019, reports that patent owners have filed a motion to amend in 326 of the 3,599 completed trials (9%) and in 90 of the … Continue Reading

State University Patents Are Not Immune from Inter Partes Review

The Federal Circuit on June 14 affirmed Patent Office decisions in inter partes review (IPR) proceedings canceling patents the University of Minnesota owned, concluding that “state sovereign immunity does not apply to these proceedings.” The court’s conclusion is not limited to instances where, for example, a state university waives its sovereign immunity by asserting a … Continue Reading

Estoppel Remains Malleable

A few months ago, in BTG International Ltd. v. Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC, the Federal Circuit invited the Patent Office’s views on the scope of the petitioner estoppel under 35 U.S.C. § 315(e)(2). We noted then that this is an estoppel a district court may apply, but the Patent Office may not. In response to the … Continue Reading

“Your Call”: Fed. Cir. Says OK not to Reconsider Despite Remand

In Dell, Inc. v. Acceleron, LLC, 884 F.3d 1364 (Fed. Cir. 2018), the Federal Circuit determined that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board was not required to consider arguments first presented by the petitioner at oral argument, despite having remanded an earlier appeal of the Board’s decision for that very purpose. In that earlier appeal, … Continue Reading

Confusion and Delay

In Oil States Energy Services., LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC, Justice Thomas, writing for a 7-2 majority of the Supreme Court, explained that inter partes review proceedings do not violate Article III or the Seventh Amendment of the Constitution. 138 S. Ct. 1365 (2018). But his opinion for the majority invited confusion and delay, … Continue Reading

IPR Estoppel Does Not Apply to ITC Investigative Staff

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 … Continue Reading

Successful IPR Petition Time Barred Under 35 U.S.C. §315(b) by Involuntarily Dismissed Complaint

In Bennett Regulator Guards, Inc. v. Atlanta Gas Light Co., Appeal Nos. 2017-1555, 217-1626 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 28, 2018), the Federal Circuit vacated the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s final written decision in an IPR because institution of the IPR should have been time barred under 35 U.S.C. §315(b).  Additionally, the Federal Circuit declined to … Continue Reading

PTAB Was Wrong to Ignore an Applicant’s Prosecution Disclaimer Because of Examiner’s Reasons for Allowance

Despite disagreeing with the PTAB’s preferred claim construction, the Federal Circuit in Arendi S.A.R.L. v. Google LLC, Case No. 2016-1249 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 20, 2018) nevertheless determined that the PTAB had correctly canceled the challenged claims. The Board had offered two, alternative rulings invalidating all claims on obviousness grounds. In its primary ruling, the Board … Continue Reading

One Year Time Bar Runs from Date of Service, Regardless of Whether Suit is Dismissed

Update: The Supreme Court issued an order on June 24, 2019, granting a petition for a writ of certiorari to review the Federal Circuit’s judgment in Dex Media, Inc. v. Click-to-Call Technologies, LP,  899 F.3d 1321 (Fed. Cir. 2018). The Court will decide “[w]hether 35 U.S.C. § 314(d) permits appeal of the PTAB’s decision to … Continue Reading

Trial Practice Guide Updates and Future Fee Increases

Today’s Federal Register includes a notice that the Patent Office updated its August 2012 Trial Practice Guide. The Federal Circuit recently noted that the Practice Guide “is a thoughtful and useful resource to which individual Board members and the public might turn for guidance,” but “is not binding on Board panel members.” Application in Internet … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Reverses, i.e. Overturns, Board’s Anticipation Decision Due to Overbroad Claim Construction

In TF3 Ltd. v. Tre Milano, LLC, Appeal 2016-2285 (Fed. Cir. July 13, 2018), the Federal Circuit reversed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s final written decision canceling claims directed to a hair styling device as anticipated by prior art.  The court concluded that the Board improperly broadened two claim terms beyond the description in … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Affirms Tribal Sovereign Immunity Does Not Apply to IPR

The Federal Circuit recently affirmed the PTAB’s decision that tribal immunity cannot be asserted in an IPR (Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe v. Mylan Pharma Inc., Case No. 2018-1638 (Fed. Cir. July 20, 2018). On appeal, Allergan, Inc. (“Allergan”) argued that the Board improperly denied its motion to withdraw from IPR proceedings, and the Saint Regis … Continue Reading

Mixed Result Upheld in Personal Audio IPRs

The Federal Circuit upheld the PTAB’s mixed decisions in IPRs filed by Google to challenge claims of two Personal Audio LLC patents asserted against Apple, Samsung, Amazon and Research in Motion, in addition to Google. Google LLC v. Personal Audio LLC, Nos. 2017-1162, -1166, -2110, -2111 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 1, 2018) (non-precedential).… Continue Reading

PTAB May Cite New References Not Cited in the IPR Petition

In affirming a PTAB IPR decision canceling claims for obviousness, the Federal Circuit concluded that the PTAB’s reliance on references not included in the original petition did not violate due process or the patent owner’s procedural rights under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).  Anacor Pharm., Inc. v. Iancu, 889 F.3d 1372 (Fed. Cir. 2018). Citing … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Requests Briefing from Patent Office Regarding § 315(b) Time-Bar Determinations

On June 7, 2018, the Federal Circuit in Wi-Fi One, LLC v. Broadcom Corp. requested that intervenor, Patent Office director Andrei Iancu, and appellee Broadcom, file a response to Wi-Fi One’s second petition for rehearing.  Wi-Fi One, Case No. 2015-1944, Docket No. 212 (June 7, 2018).  At issue was whether the court should grant Wi-Fi … Continue Reading
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