Supreme Court accepts Inter Partes Review Appeal

On Friday, January 15, 2016, the United States Supreme Court accepted the petitioner’s request to hear Cuozzo Speed Technologies v. Lee, a case that will now require the Court to address two questions about inter partes review (IPR) proceedings.

IPR proceedings were created by the America Invents Act (AIA), which was signed into law by President Barack Obama on September 16, 2011. IPR and the other two forms of post-grant challenge to issued patents — Post Grant Review (PGR) and Covered Business Method (CBM) Review — did not become available as a procedure to challenge patents until September 16, 2012. Thus, these proceedings are quite new and Cuozzo will be the first opportunity for the Supreme Court to weigh in on these controversial administrative proceedings.

According to the statute, “[a] person who is not the owner of a patent may file a petition to institute an inter partes review of the patent.” 35 U.S.C. 311(a). Significantly for this appeal, the statute also says: “The determination by the Director whether to institute an inter partes review under this section shall be final and nonappealable.” 35 U.S.C.314(d). Additionally, although the statute is silent as to the proper claim construction standard to use in post grant proceedings, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has decided to apply the familiar standard used elsewhere throughout the Office, which is the broadest reasonable interpretation (BRI) rather than the so-called “Phillips standard” that is used in district court litigation and narrowly construes claims in an already issued patent. (more…)

CAFC rules IPR petitioner bears burden to establish entitlement to provisional priority

Several weeks ago, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in Dynamic Drinkware v. National Graphics, which asked the Court to determine who has the burden with respect to whether a provisional patent application sufficiently supports a later-issued patent so as to become effective prior art as of the provisional filing date in an inter partes review.

National Graphics owns U.S. Patent 6,635,196, which is directed to making molded plastic articles bearing a “lenticular” image. The ’196 patent issued on October 21, 2003, from an application filed on November 22, 2000. The ’196 patent claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application 60/211,112, filed on June 12, 2000.

Dynamic petitioned the PTO for inter partes review of the ’196 patent. In its petition, Dynamic argued that claims 1, 8, 12, and 14 of the ’196 patent were anticipated by U.S. Patent 7,153,555 (“Raymond”). The application for Raymond was filed on May 5, 2000, claiming the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application 60/182,490 (the “provisional application” or “Raymond provisional application”), filed on February 15, 2000. The PTO granted the petition in part, and instituted trial on claims 1 and 12.

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USPTO seeks comment on post grant initiation pilot program

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has published a request for comments on a proposed pilot program pertaining to the institution and conduct of post grant administrative trials. The America Invents Act (AIA), which was signed into law on September 16, 2011, provides for the following post grant administrative trials: Inter Partes Review (IPR), Post-Grant Review (PGR), and Covered Business Method Review (CBM). These new administrative procedures became available on September 16, 2012, one year after the signing of the AIA.

The USPTO currently has a panel of three Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) determine whether to institute a trial, and then normally has the same panel conduct the trial, if a decision is made to institute a trial. The USPTO is now considering a pilot program where the determination of whether to institute an IPR would be made by a single APJ. If the decision is to institute a proceeding, two additional APJs would be assigned to the IPR, joining the APJ who decided to institute the trial. (more…)

Top 5 Patent Blog Posts of the Week

Today we continue our weekly installment highlighting the best of the patent blogosphere from the past week. If there are any patent blogs you think should be highlighted by our Top 5, please comment on this post and we’ll check them out.

1) IP Watchdog: Federal Circuit on Software Patents: Show Me the Algorithms – This post discusses the decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Noah Systems, Inc. v. Intuit, Inc. and how the CAFC explained  the disclosure requirements for software patents that utilize means-plus-function claim language.

2) Patents Post-Grant: Different Thresholds for New Post Grant Proceedings – This post questions whether or not there is a significant enough difference between Inter Partes Review and Post Grant Review to make an impact between grant rates. But the post does discuss the differentiating thresholds necessary for initiating the process of Inter Partes Review and Post Grant Review.

3) Patently-O: The Impact of Mayo v. Prometheus: Three Weeks In – The decisions that have been released that rely on the Supreme Court opinion in Mayo v. Prometheus are highlighted and summarized in this post.

4) Patents4life: Aventis v. Hospira – How to Meet the Therasense Standards – This post discusses the Federal Circuit’s decision in Aventis v. Hospira, and how the inventors were found to have intentionally decided not to submit two material pieces of prior art to the PTO.

5) IP Kat: Patents and jurisdiction 2: Innovia v Frito-Lay – This post analyzes the question of which court Europeans can bring their patent related claims. The reason for this is, “because the same patents get litigated in jurisdictions outside the European Union too, and the effort of fighting to sue before the court of one’s choice often determines the outcome of the substantive proceedings too.”

USPTO’s New Rules and You

The Patent Law Practice Center wants to be sure that you are ready for the USPTO’s new rules of practice for ex parte appeals before the Board of Patent Appeals & Interferences that become effective on January 23, 2012. PLI’s “USPTO New Rules of Practice for Ex Parte Appeals: Change and Simplification for 2012″ is a one hour briefing on January 9, 2012 that will focus on the new petition practice to toll Reply Briefing deadlines, simplification of brief formatting and required appendices, the new default practices and assumptions, guidelines for identifying “new rejections”, any new jurisdictional timing, and the elimination of examiner responsibilities.

The America Invents Act (AIA) introduces entirely new options, e.g., Post-Grant Review, Inter Partes Review (formerly inter partes patent reexamination) Derivation, a special post-grant review for “business method” patents and Supplemental Examination. Going forward, it is anticipated that the USPTO will become an even more prominent battleground for patent disputes. PLI’s “Post-Grant USPTO Proceedings 2012 – The New Patent Litigation” (February 3, 2012) is taught by a faculty of judges, preeminent lawyers, and industry leaders who have earned national reputations in patent litigation and in post-grant proceedings at the USPTO. The program focuses on the role of post-grant USPTO proceedings as component of a litigation strategy, including pre-trial and post-trial options.  The relative advantages and disadvantages of the various proceedings are explained from both the perspective of the Patentee and Third Party.