Since the passage of the America Invents Act (AIA) the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) has successfully fulfilled it’s charge as a speedy, cost effective alternative to patent litigation. The PTAB has been so effective in cancelling patent claims, based on the limited, preliminary results, that the Board is being criticized as anti-patent. As discussed earlier this week, this criticism is unfounded as the USPTO will always be a significantly more patent challenger friendly forum relative to the district court. Still, there is another aspect of the early statistics that patentees find of equal concern, the perceived impossibility of successfully amending the claims of a patent during a PTAB challenge.
To date, the PTAB has not granted a single motion to amend.
The PTAB properly points out that that there is a very small sample of cases in which amendment has even been attempted, and a successful motion is expected to be issued shortly. Yet, the current statistical situation (as transient as it may be), coupled with the fact that the strict motion to amend guidelines have always been viewed unfavorably, is resulting in a bit of a black eye. This at a time when maintaining the BRI standard in PTAB proceedings is being justified based upon the ability to amend.
To the Board’s credit, the current round table initiative is designed to receive feedback for the purpose of revising some rules of practice. To this end, below are some changes that I believe would improve patentee prospects for amendment while maintaining the PTAB’s mission to expeditiously decide these important, but complex issues of patentability. Read the rest of this entry »