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Federal Circuit Rules AAPA in Challenged Patent Does Not Qualify as Prior Art Under 35 U.S.C § 311(b) but Signals AAPA Can Play Role in §103 Analysis

Federal Circuit Rules AAPA in Challenged Patent Does Not Qualify as Prior Art Under 35 U.S.C § 311(b) but Signals AAPA Can Play Role in §103 Analysis

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.

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