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Archive for June 9th, 2014

IPR Joinder Limits Impact of WARF Decision

Posted On: Jun. 9, 2014   By: Scott A. McKeown
joinder PTABArticle III Standing a Rare Concern at PTAB

Last week, the Court of Appeals of the Federal Circuit (CAFC) determined that public interest groups challenging patents at the USPTO must demonstrate Article III standing to appeal failed challenges to the Court. In Consumer Watchdog v. WARF, Consumer Watchdog  appealed  a determination of the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) to uphold claims of WARF patent 7,029,913 directed to stem cell cultures (inter partes reexamination 95/000,154). (here). In dismissing the appeal, the Court explained that while Consumer Watchdog was provided a procedural right to appeal by the inter partes reexamination statutes, an “injury in fact” was necessary to confer Article III standing. That is, such appeals require “a particularized, concrete stake in the outcome of the reexamination.”  Consumer Watchdog’s status as an entity that does not compete with the patent owner was strongly emphasized in the decision. The court left “it to future panels to decide whether, under other circumstances, the preclusive effect of the estoppel provisions could constitute an injury in fact.”

While an interesting decision, such public interest challenges were exceedingly rare in inter partes patent reexamination (discontinued by the AIA in 2012). On the other hand, Inter Partes Review (IPR) has seen a fair amount of activity from such entities. For this reason, some have speculated that this decision may have a chilling effect on such filings going forward. However, since IPR challenges are not governed by reexamination procedural practices, such filings are likely to continue. Read the rest of this entry »