On 1 February 2022, the Federal Circuit released its decision in Qualcomm v. Apple1 providing guidance on the treatment of Applicant Admitted Prior Art (AAPA) under 35 U.S.C § 311(b) in Inter Partes Review (IPR) proceedings. In doing so, the Federal Circuit vacated two IPR decisions2 of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) where the PTAB had found several claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,063,674 (“the ’674 patent”) unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. § 103. In doing so, the Federal Circuit remanded the case to allow the PTAB to address the specific issue of whether the AAPA cited by Apple improperly formed the “basis” of Apple’s § 103 challenge or was simply ancillary.Read More
On 23 December 2021, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“the Board”) instituted inter partes review (IPR) of U.S. Patent No. 7,725,759 B2 (“the ’759 patent”). See OpenSky Indus., LLC v. VLSI Tech. LLC IPR2021-01064, Paper 17 (Dec. 23, 2021). Petitioner OpenSky Industries, LLC (“OpenSky”) relied on expert declarations of Dr. Sylvia D. Hall-Ellis and Dr. Bruce Jacob originally filed by Intel Corporation in two other IPR proceedings (“Intel IPRs”).1 Indeed, the declaration included the same coversheet that accompanied the declaration in the Intel IPR. The Board analyzed OpenSky’s Petition under §314(d) and §325(d), declining to deny institution, finding, in part, that since Fintiv and General Plastic did not warrant discretionary denial, the arguments, which were almost identical to those made in the Intel IPRs, deserved to see their day in court at the PTAB.Read More
On Tuesday, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) designated two decisions precedential and one as informative explaining the circumstances under which the Board will exercise its discretion under 35 U.S.C. § 325(d) and 35 U.S.C. § 314(a) to deny petitions. The cases analyzed situations where the prior art and invalidity arguments advanced by Petitioner were similar/identical to those previously considered by the examiner and where the timing of a final decision may coincide with another body’s findings (e.g., a district court trial) regarding validity. These cases provide guidance to Petitioners and Patent Owners alike about how to construct discretionary denial arguments, in particular regarding the appropriate way to address art that may or may not be cumulative to already-considered references.Read More
In a Halloween decision, the Federal Circuit issued its opinion in Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc. et al., an appeal from IPR2017-00275. Without wading into the technical merits of the decision, the three judge panel of Judges Moore, Reyna, and Chen, issued a decision that, at first glance, sent tremors through those who practice before the PTAB in AIA-based post-grant review proceedings: finding the appointment of PTAB judges unconstitutional.Read More
On April 15, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States denied the petition for certiorari filed by the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe.Read More
The United States Patent and Trademark Office is publishing a final rule revising the claim construction standard used by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) in inter partes review, post-grant review, and covered business method patent review proceedings. The Board will no longer interpret claims under the broadest reasonable interpretation standard and will instead use the claim construction standard enunciated in Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc) and its progeny and followed by federal courts and the United States International Trade Commission (“ITC”). The changes to the claim construction standard will only apply to proceedings in which a petition is filed on or after the effective date of the final rule.
On August 16, 2018, the U.S. Federal Circuit addressed when the inter partes review (IPR) time bar clock begins to tick. See Click-to-Call Tech. LP v. Ingenio, Inc., Slip Op. 2015-1242 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 16, 2018). The en banc Federal Circuit addressed whether the one year estoppel clock begins for a properly served complaint when the complaint is subsequently dismissed without prejudice. The panel found that the § 315(b) time bar applies. The filing of such a complaint, though later voluntarily dismissed, has previously formed the basis for declaratory judgment jurisdiction where the initial defendant later brings a validity challenge. See TransWeb, LLC v. 3M Innovative Props. Co., 812 F.3d 1295, 1300 (Fed. Cir. 2016).
In a big day for inter partes review (IPR) at the U.S. Supreme Court, the Court issued two opinions, Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC et al. and SAS Institute Inc. v. Iancu et al.
On October 4, 2017, the Federal Circuit held en banc that the proper interpretation of 35 U.S.C. 316(d) and (e) requires the Petitioner in an inter partes review (IPR) to prove all propositions of unpatentability, including for amended claims. Aqua Prods., Inc. v. Matal, No. 2015-1177 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 4, 2017). The en banc Court further determined that the PTAB must consider the entirety of the record when assessing the patentability of amended claims under 318(a), not merely the face of a motion to amend.
The Aqua case resulted in five opinions totaling 148 pages, each presenting views on judgment and underlying rationale, ultimately leading to a narrowly tailored holding. In the decision, the Federal Circuit made clear that the burden of persuasion of patentability does not rest with the Patent Owner; instead, it is left to the Petitioner to establish that any proposed amended claims are not patentable.