PTABWatch Blog

PTABWatch, provided by Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP, analyzes and reports recent developments concerning Post-Grant Proceedings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), including Inter Partes Review (IPR), Post Grant Review (PGR), and Covered Business Method (CBM) proceedings.

Recent Blog Posts

  • Federal Circuit to PTAB: Prior Art Cannot Anticipate Absent Disclosure of All Claimed Features In Nidec Motor Corp. v. Zhongshan Broad Ocean Motor Co., No. 2016-1900 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 14, 2017), the Federal Circuit issued a precedential opinion explaining that a prior art reference cannot anticipate a patent claim if the reference does not disclose all claimed features. That straightforward explanation of black letter law was prompted by a PTAB decision that effectively concluded otherwise and, accordingly, canceled a claim of a patent owned by Nidec Motor Corporation. The opinion is important because it clarifies... More
  • Claims Construed and Canceled as Patent Nears its Expiration Date In MPHJ Technology Investments, LLC v. Ricoh Americas Corp., Appeal 2016-1243 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 13, 2017), the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s final written decision canceling all eight claims in U.S. Patent No. 8,488,173. The patent issued from an application that was the tenth continuation-in-part of a 20-year-old application that relies for priority on seven provisional applications. The decision may be noteworthy if only because it highlights how seemingly-minor changes to these applications over time influenced the PTAB’s interpretation of... More
  • District Court Interprets the IPR Estoppel Provision Narrowly Update (Jan. 13, 2017): The Delaware district court issued a short order on Jan. 11, 2017, maintaining the court’s earlier decision discussed in the post below. An AIA trial is a relatively-inexpensive, partial substitute for challenging the validity of a patent. Yet, prospective AIA trial petitioners routinely struggle with the potential estoppel effect of not raising prior art before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Petitioners concerned about that issue may be encouraged by a recent Delaware district court decision interpreting the statutory... More
  • The Federal Circuit’s Disagreement About What Constitutes “Substantial Evidence” As a standard of appellate review, “substantial evidence” is not peculiar to the Federal Circuit’s review of patent decisions from district courts and the Patent Office. All circuit courts are familiar with that review standard. They apply it routinely in deciding appeals. The standard originated with appeals of jury verdicts, in recognition of the role of credibility at trial. Under this standard, a judge determines not whether a jury’s decision was correctly made, but whether its decision could reasonably have... More
  • Patent Office Proposes to Increase AIA Trial Fees In the October 3, 2016, Federal Register, the Patent Office published a notice of proposed rulemaking to adjust various fees the Office charges for its services, including 18% to 56% increases for AIA trial fees (as shown below). According to the notice, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board has received more than 4,700 AIA trial petitions since 2012, and it received over 1,900 in the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2016. In setting the fee structure for administering those trials,... More
  • Federal Circuit Again Refuses to Review PTAB’s Application of the Time Bar to AIA Petitions An updated discussion of this issue is available here: Federal Circuit to Take AIA Time Bar Issue En Banc The Federal Circuit has again concluded it may not review the PTAB’s institution of inter partes review (IPR) over a patent owner’s objections that the IPR petition is time barred. Wi-Fi One, LLC v. Broadcom Corp., Appeal 2015-1944 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 16, 2016). The court’s conclusion may be somewhat surprising because earlier this summer, in another case, the Supreme Court issued an... More
  • PTAB Bar Association Officially Launched We are pleased to share that the new Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) Bar Association launched Friday, September 16, 2016.  The organization will provide a forum for communications between the legal community and PTAB officials and its Administrative Patent Judges (APJs), particularly to share best practices and stay abreast of the rule making, procedure and jurisprudence emanating from the PTAB.  Marshall Gerstein is one of the founding firms. The Inaugural Annual Conference of the PTAB Bar Association will take place March 1... More
  • Who Must Bear the Burden of Proof Regarding Patentability of Amended Claims? On August 12, 2016, the Federal Circuit issued an order vacating its decision in In re Aqua Products, Inc., 823 F.3d 1369 (Fed. Cir. 2016), and reinstating the appeal after granting the aggrieved patent owner’s petition for rehearing en banc.  We wrote about this decision a few months ago: The Federal Circuit confirmed in a precedential opinion that the burden to prove patentability of an amended claim in an IPR proceeding rests squarely with the patentee, and in deciding a motion... More
  • The Possibility of Inconsistent Results Inherent to Congress’s Design of AIA Trial Reviews In Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v. Lee, the Supreme Court recognized that a “district court may find a patent claim to be valid, and the agency may later cancel that claim in its own review.”  The Court also recognized that because of the different evidentiary burdens in court versus before the agency—the Patent Office—“the possibility of inconsistent results is inherent to Congress’[s] regulatory design.” Is that inconsistency sensible? As good a case as any to consider that question involves a... More
  • Supreme Court Vacates Federal Circuit Decision that Refused to Review PTAB’s Application of the Time Bar to AIA Trials An updated discussion of this issue is available here: Federal Circuit to Take AIA Time Bar Issue En Banc In a non-precedential decision late last year, the Federal Circuit dismissed a patent owner’s appeal of a Patent Trial and Appeal Board decision that refused to apply a statutory time-bar to deny institution of an inter partes review proceeding. Click-to-Call Technologies, LP v. Oracle Corp., 622 Fed. Appx. 907 (Fed. Cir. 2015) (per curiam). The court relied on the “No Appeal” provision... More