When discussing Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) proceedings at CLE events, I am always fascinated by the degree of interest in PTAB discovery procedures. Parties to an Inter Parties Review (IPR) proceeding may obtain what is termed “limited discovery” at the PTAB. Such discovery is limited as it must fall in an accepted class of discovery, namely, “routine discovery” or “additional discovery.” See Rule § 42.51. Routine discovery is easy to understand, it is simply (1) any exhibit not otherwise publicly available or served, (2) cross examination of a declarant, and (3) non-cumulative information that is inconsistent with a position taken by the party before the PTAB. In the typical case, category (2) is the only routine discovery.
“Additional discovery” defines everything outside of the above noted categories. It is the promise of “additional discovery” that seems to enthrall the masses. To seek such additional discovery in an IPR an “interest of justice” showing is required. Since patent challengers in IPR rely on patent and printed publications filed with their IPR petition, there is rarely, if ever, a need for additional discovery that will satisfy the requisite showing.
Nevertheless, I am routinely asked about ”discovery plans” in IPR. In most cases the plan is simple — don’t plan on getting any. Read the rest of this entry »