Trial Procedures

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The Arthrex Mulligan

The Federal Circuit, in Arthrex, concluded that the Patent and Trial Appeal Board’s Administrative Patent Judges were unconstitutionally appointed “principal” officers. The court therefore vacated the Board’s decision that canceled claims in an inter partes review and remanded so a new panel of APJs would re-decide the patentability of the claims. What happens, however, when … Continue Reading

Assignor Estoppel Does Not Prevent Reliance on PTAB Decision Canceling Claims

In Hologic, Inc. v. Minerva Surgical, Inc., Case 19-2054 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 22, 2020), the Federal Circuit held that an assignor of a patent may rely on a PTAB unpatentability decision as a defense in infringement litigation, although the equitable doctrine of “assignor estoppel” prevents the assignor from directly challenging validity in the litigation. In … Continue Reading

PTAB Determination on One-Year Time Bar Cannot be Appealed

On April 20, 2020, the Supreme Court held that PTAB decisions instituting IPR are final and non-appealable and that the language of 35 U.S.C. § 314(d) “indicates that a party generally cannot contend on appeal that the agency should have refused “to institute an inter partes review.”  Thryv Inc. v. Click-To-Call Technologies LP, case number … Continue Reading

A Fine Mess

Update (Apr. 3, 2020): The Federal Circuit recently denied rehearing petitions in the Polaris appeals referenced below (see link and link), and also denied the PTO’s request to stay the mandate in the Arthrex appeal (see link). The Federal Circuit recently issued an order denying multiple rehearing petitions in Arthrex Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Affirms Use of “Common Sense” in IPRs

In Koninklijke Philips N.V. v. Google LLC, Case No. 2019-1177 (Fed. Cir. January 30, 2020), the Federal Circuit determined that the Board erred in instituting inter partes review based on an obviousness combination that Petitioner Google did not advance in its petition.  Nevertheless, the Federal Circuit agreed that the Board could have properly relied upon … Continue Reading

Time Bar Challenge Must Be Raised before the Board, Not Saved for Appeal

Since the Federal Circuit’s 2018 en banc decision in Wi-Fi One, LLC v. Broadcom Corporation, (discussed here) the court has reviewed a number of PTAB decisions on whether an IPR petition was filed more than one year after the petitioner was served with a complaint asserting the challenged patent, and thus time-barred under 35 U.S.C. … Continue Reading

Game Not Over – No Estoppel Where Service Is Deemed Insufficient

In a case involving online gaming, the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s decision that 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) did not bar instituting an IPR where the patent owner failed to preserve its arguments that service was perfected. Game and Technology Co., Ltd. v. Wargaming Group Limited, ___ F.3d __, 2019 WL 6121449 (Fed. Cir. Nov. … 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

PTAB Revises Trial Practice Guide To Reflect Recent Decisions On Claim Construction, Petition and Motion Practice

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) recently published a second update to its Trial Practice Guide (TPG). The TPG, initially released in 2012, was first updated in August 2018 (see here). This second update further revises and/or adds guidance relating to certain general procedures and many aspects of trial practice before the PTAB.… Continue Reading

The Chaos of Too Many Rules

The Patent Office issued Honeywell a patent that required correction. The patent, according to Honeywell, did not include the proper claim for the benefit of priority to the filing date of an application that Honeywell had earlier filed. But before Honeywell noticed the error and tried to correct that priority claim, its competitor, Arkema, petitioned … 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 Must Consider All Grounds Raised in an Instituted Petition

In AC Technologies S.A. v. Amazon.com, the Federal Circuit confirmed the PTO’s interpretation of SAS Institute, Inc. v. Iancu, 138 S.Ct. 1348, 1355 (2018) (discussed in greater detail here) requiring that the PTAB address each ground of invalidity raised in an instituted petition in its final written decision. 912 F.3d 1358 (Fed. Cir. 2019).… Continue Reading

Patent Office Announces New Amendments Procedure for AIA Trials

For AIA trials instituted on or after March 15, 2019, the patent owner may opt-in to a pilot program the Patent Office implemented for motion to amend (“MTA”) practice and procedures in the PTAB’s administration of these trials. Today’s Federal Register (link) includes the Patent Office’s explanation of the program, which it proposed in October … Continue Reading

Newly Appointed Chief Judge Scott Boalick Addresses PTAB Bar Association

Addressing the PTAB Bar Association Conference in its opening session, newly appointed Chief Judge Scott Boalick explained that his goal as Chief Judge is to bring stability to the board and increase predictability. He wants all parties coming to the Board to feel that they have gotten a fair shake and that the procedures are … Continue Reading

Petitioner Has Burden of Persuasion on Real Party in Interest

Under 35 U.S.C. § 312(a), an IPR petition must identify “all real parties in interest,” and, an IPR petition is time-barred under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) if “filed more than 1 year after the date on which the petitioner, the real party in interest, or a privy of the petitioner is served with a complaint alleging … Continue Reading

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

Update: The Supreme Court issued a decision on April 20, 2020  holding that the patent statute (35 U.S.C. § 314(d)) bars judicial review of a PTAB decision of whether an inter partes review petition is time-barred pursuant to 35 USC 315(b). As stated by the Court, the PTAB’s “application of §315(b)’s time limit, we hold, is … 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

PTAB Failed to Properly Apply Test for Printed Publication

The Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the PTAB’s decision that a video demonstration and slides distributed by Petitioner Medtronic at three industry meetings and conferences were not publicly accessible and, thus, were not “printed publications.” Medtronic, Inc. v. Barry, Case no. 17-1169, 2018 WL 2769092 (Fed. Cir. June 11, 2018). Recent Board decisions have set … Continue Reading
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