Opponents of the U.S. patent system are quick to deride the America Invents Act (AIA) as a failure when it comes to the so called “patent troll” or “non-practicing entity” (NPE) problem. Indeed, a steady stream of news articles from otherwise reliable sources such as the Wall Street Journal only serve to sensationalize and reinforce this misperception. Most such articles will focus on what has happened prior to September 16, 2012 (i.e., failure of the joinder rules) as opposed to what is now happening as a result of the AIA.
On September 16th, 2012 the new post grant patent proceedings of the America Invents Act (AIA) became available to patent challengers for the first time. These proceedings have only been available for a few months, but allow challenges to suspect patents of any vintage in a far more speedier, cost effective, and challenger friendly manner relative to that of the federal district courts. The idea behind these proceedings is that for the very first time, there will be a true, accelerated alternative to patent litigation. Not surprisingly, there has been a robust demand for these proceedings with over 100 petitions filed in the first few months—many of which target NPE portfolios. The new post grant proceedings of the USPTO’s Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) will conclude in a fast enough time (12-18 months) to transform the existing litigation landscape in a manner that will significantly undermine the NPE patent litigation business model.
The impact of these new, AIA post grant proceedings are only now beginning to be felt in the district courts. Read the rest of this entry »