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 construed the claims after rejecting the argument that a disclaimer was made during prosecution. Continue Reading

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

The Federal Circuit recently held that the statutory time bar in 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) precludes the PTAB from deciding an IPR petition filed more than one year after any of the petitioners have been served with a complaint alleging patent infringement, even if that complaint was voluntarily dismissed. Click-To-Call Technologies, LP v. Ingenio, Inc., et al., Case no. 2015-1242, 2018 WL 3893119 (Fed. Cir. Aug 16, 2018). This holding is found in an en banc footnote in a 3-judge panel decision, and is contrary to the PTAB’s long-standing interpretation and application of the § 315(b) time bar. The decision is important to those served with an infringement complaint that is later dismissed without prejudice. If one year has passed since service of that complaint, those parties no longer have an opportunity to challenge the patent’s validity in an IPR. Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Upholds Board’s Use of Control Standard of Privity to Assess Time Bar

It is undisputed that institution of an inter partes review (IPR) is time-barred under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) if the petition is “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 infringement of the patent. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently determined that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s time bar determinations are appealable. Since that decision, whether a party is considered “a privy of the petitioner” has been the source of recent dispute. 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 Time v. RPX Corp., Nos. 2017-1698, -1699, -1701, Slip Op. at 14 n.2 (Fed. Cir. July 9, 2018). The update revises six sections of the guide, including sections focused on the presentation of expert testimony, the Board’s considerations in instituting review, and briefing concerning evidentiary issues and claim amendments. 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 the patent specification.  Using the correct claim construction, the court concluded that prior art does not anticipate the claims.  In part, the court relied upon the abbreviation “i.e.” in determining the proper scope of the claim terms.  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 Mohawk Tribe (“the Tribe”) argued that the Board improperly denied its motion to terminate the IPR based on sovereign immunity. See Mylan Pharma Inc. v. Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, Case IPR2016-01127, Paper 130 (February 23, 2018) (discussed here). Continue Reading

PTAB Issues First Biotech/Pharma PGR Final Written Decision Based On Written Description Challenge

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board has received 37 petitions for post grant review of patents issuing from examination conducted by the Patent Office’s Group Art Unit 1600. The Board has issued four final written decisions thus far.  We discussed the first final written decision here, where all claims were upheld in the face of a challenge based on obviousness grounds only.  Three of the four final written decisions issued so far on biotech/pharma subject matter dealt only with art-based challenges.  Grünenthal GmbH v. Antecip Bioventures II LLC, Case PGR2017-00008 (June 22, 2018) marks the first PGR final written decision addressing written description of a patent arising from Art Unit 1600; all claims were held to be unpatentable under Section 112. Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Splits Hairs in Hair Removal Product Interference Proceeding

In General Hospital Corp. v. Sienna Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., Case No. 2017-1012 (Fed. Cir. May 4, 2018), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s August 2016 decision that General Hospital Corporation’s (GHC) claims involved in an interference proceeding (that GHC requested) failed to meet the written description requirement. But the court also vacated the PTAB’s denial of GHC’s contingent motion to add a new claim as arbitrary and capricious because the PTAB did not follow its own Standing Order. The court therefore remanded the case to the PTAB to decide remaining issues in the interference. Continue Reading

Proposed Hatch-Waxman Amendment Would Effectively Eliminate IPR Challenges by Generics

On June 13, 2018, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced to the Senate Judiciary Committee an amendment to restore the careful balance sought in the Hatch-Waxman Act, which provided incentives for both pharmaceutical innovation and drug affordability. The amendment, titled the Hatch-Waxman Integrity Act of 2018, would modify the IPR process for pharmaceuticals—under Hatch-Waxman and the BPCIA—and would amend sections of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act that provide abbreviated pathways for generic drug and biosimilar product approval. 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

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