• Subscribe

    Subscribe to the RSS feed Subscribe to the blogs's ATOM feed
    Add to your Google Home Page or Google Reader Add to your My Yahoo!
    Add to your My MSN Add to your My AOL
    Subscribe to the Comments RSS feed Add to your Bloglines
    Email Subscription



  • The opinions, commentary and characterizations provided to this online forum by the authors and moderators are provided for encouraging discussion, thought and debate on important post grant issues. These postings are in no way representative of the opinions of Oblon Spivak et al., or its clients.

Archive for the ‘Post-Grant Review’ Category

March 2014 Update to PTAB Trial Statistics

Posted On: Mar. 14, 2014   By: Scott A. McKeown
PTABPTAB Breaks 1000 Threshold for CBM and IPR Filings

Last week, the USPTO issued the official tallies/progress statistics for Inter Partes Review (IPR), Post Grant Review (PGR) and the Covered Business Method (CBM) proceedings. As of March 6, 2014 the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) has received 924 IPR petitions and 127 CBM petitions, 1056 petitions in total. Since the last update in January, the PTAB has seen 150 additional petition filings. These numbers are well beyond the 281 filing limit per year Congress envisioned in the America Invents Act. The PTAB is seeing 281 filings roughly every 2-3 months. (Click to Enlarge)

aia_statistics_03_06_2014

aia_statistics_B

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of IPR petitions remain in the predictable arts, significant concentrations being in consumer electronics and mobile communication technologies. (a favorite haunt of non-practicing entities (NPEs))

aia_statistics_CAlthough difficult to gauge from the numbers due to the lag in filing of preliminary responses across yearly boundaries and larger sample in 2014 filing numbers, it seems that patent owner’s are beginning to appreciate the limited value of preliminary responses. The number of waived responses in 2014 has already surpassed 2013 numbers.

aia_statistics_DBased upon the growing sample, the settlement/adverse judgment rate appears to be leveling out at around 15-20%. As more proceedings mature toward written decision the rate may increase. Of course, it is within the discretion of the PTAB to continue to written decision for late stage settlements, especially those attempted after the patent owner response. (See CBM2012-00007)

Is The Eastern District of Texas Thwarting the America Invents Act?

Posted On: Mar. 11, 2014   By: Scott A. McKeown

Time to Adapt - Clock

Refusal to Stay Pending CBM Unusual

Last week I discussed the creation of a “Track B” docket by the Eastern District of Texas (EDTX) and explained how this docket could force some defendants away from the more cost effective alternatives of the USPTO’s Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB). On the heels of the Track B announcement, the Court issued a second denial of a stay of the patent dispute between VirtualAgility Inc., v. Salesforce.com Inc., et al. (here) pending PTAB review. In this case, a Covered Business Method (CBM) challenge was filed against the patent at issue. By way of reminder, CBM is the proceeding created by Congress that does all but mandate a stay pending CBM…..at least outside of Texas. Read the rest of this entry »

Could Track B Scheduling in EDTX Benefit Patent Trolls?

Posted On: Mar. 3, 2014   By: Scott A. McKeown
Texas Track BEDTX Judge Davis Announces New, Faster “Track B” for Patent Cases

Last week, Chief Judge Leonard Davis of the Eastern District of Texas (EDTX) issued an Order (here) creating a second, Track B for patent cases. Track B as the name implies establishes a different, accelerated track as compared to the typical EDTX schedule (Track A). Litigants may opt for Track B by agreement, or be selected for such by the court. Track B is designed to reduce costs by accelerating milestones and limiting certain filing and discovery practices. These same concepts are expressed in many of the proposals of the pending patent reform legislation. The judiciary has been rather vocal on opposing the various proposals floating around Congress on issues of district court case management. While the goal of Track B is to resolve disputes sooner with less cost to litigants, the timing also suggests a deliberate amplification of the judiciary’s position.

To be sure, the proactive efforts of the judiciary to reduce time and expense of litigation are greatly welcomed, and the EDTX effort is to be applauded for taking the lead. Yet, based upon the dynamics of what is going on in the world of patent assertion post America Invents Act (AIA), the EDTX Track B docket could aid certain non-practicing entities that were only recently left for dead. Read the rest of this entry »

Amendment Missteps Before the PTAB

Posted On: Feb. 20, 2014   By: Scott A. McKeown
ptab-amendmentPatentees Fail to Adjust to Motion Practice

As final written decisions in Inter Partes Review (IPR) and Covered Business Method (CBM) proceedings begin to issue from the USPTO’s Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB), it is clear that patentees have yet to master the process of amending their patents in these new proceedings. The primary disconnect appears to be the failure of patentees to recognize that an amendment in a PTAB proceeding is proposed by motion; an amendment is not entered as a matter of right.

Unless prosecution has been closed in the examination of a patent application or patent reexamination, a patent applicant/patentee is free to present virtually any number and character of claim amendments supported by their specification. Outside of the prohibition against broadening, or amendments relating to a patentably distinct inventions, a patent applicant/patentee is not required to do much else but present their new claims for examination. On the other hand, a motion to amend before the PTAB requires the movant (i.e., patentee) to demonstrate entitlement to the requested relief. This demonstration requires more than most patentees are accustomed to providing the USPTO. Read the rest of this entry »

Prosecution History Before the PTAB….Your Mileage May Vary

Posted On: Feb. 18, 2014   By: Scott A. McKeown
Prosecution-historyThe Applicability of Prosecution History in a BRI Analysis

Whether in a new patent application or in an issued patent being subject to a post grant review proceeding, the USPTO utilizes a Broadest Reasonable Interpretation (BRI) standard for all patent claims. Under this one-size-fits-all standard a patent claim is construed consistent with the accompanying patent specification from the perspective of one skilled in the relevant art.

Although applied in post grant proceedings, BRI was developed as an examination expedient for patent examiners to protect the public notice function of newly minted patent claims. That is, since no property rights exist at the time of patent application, a pure BRI analysis properly ignores the developing intrinsic record as a guide to claim meaning (i.e., prosecution history) in favor of claim amendment practices. However, once an issued patent returns to the USPTO for a post grant analysis, consideration of prosecution history as intrinsic evidence is more of a mixed bag—especially when before examiners steeped in traditional BRI practices (e.g., reexamination, reissue, supplemental examination).

Recently, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) has sent the USPTO Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) seemingly conflicting messages on the use of prosecution history during post grant proceedings.

Read the rest of this entry »

PTAB Explains Proper Role of Motions to Exclude

Posted On: Jan. 28, 2014   By: Scott A. McKeown
PTAB Rejects motion to excludeEarly Motions to Exclude as Improper

The Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) has begun issuing a steady stream of final written decisions in Inter Partes Review (IPR) and Covered Business Method (CBM) proceedings. In these initial decisions, the Board is denying a significant number of improperly filed motions to exclude from both petitioners and patentees alike. Specifically, the Board is urging that a proper motion to exclude is not filed to: (1) challenge the sufficiency of the opposing parties evidence; (2) serve as a sur-reply; or (3) attack evidence raised in petitioner filings as being “new.” Instead, a proper motion to exclude must be keyed to an earlier made evidentiary objection.

While the PTAB is diligently educating the public on the proper motion practice in the initial wave of decisions, failure to heed the guidance in these initial decisions may result in attorney sanctions down the line. Read the rest of this entry »

Advanced Patent Law Institute

Posted On: Jan. 23, 2014   By: Scott A. McKeown
postgrantCLEPost Grant CLE Tomorrow at USPTO

Just a reminder that the 9th Annual Advanced Patent Law Institute is underway at the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO. This two day program offers several post grant patent discussions tomorrow, including:  AIA Practice Tips Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board; Post-Grant Proceedings, Strategies and Practice; and Ex Parte Reexam in View of Fresenius – A Hail Mary Pass Which Should Be in Every Playbook.

2014 Update on PTAB Trial Statistics

Posted On: Jan. 17, 2014   By: Scott A. McKeown
PTABStatistics Demonstrate Staggering Demand for PTAB Patent Challenge Proceedings

Last week, the USPTO issued the official tallies/progress statistics for Inter Partes Review (IPR), Post Grant Review (PGR) and the Covered Business Method (CBM) proceedings. As of January 9, 2014 the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) has received 810 IPR petitions and 108 CBM petitions, 922 petitions in total. Since the last update on November 7, 2013, the PTAB has seen 200 additional petition filings, quite impressive given the holiday season.

(Click to Enlarge)aia_pets_01_09_2014

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of IPR petitions remain in the predictable arts, significant concentrations being in consumer electronics and mobile communication technologies. (a favorite haunt of non-practicing entities (NPEs))

aia_tech_01_09_2014Although difficult to gauge from the numbers due to the lag in filing of preliminary responses across yearly boundaries, it seems that patent owner’s are beginning to appreciate the limited value of preliminary responses.  aia_PR_01_09_2014

aia_inst_01_09_2014

Based upon early numbers, the settlement rate appears to be leveling out at around 15-20%. As more proceedings mature toward written decision the rate may increase. Of course, it is within the discretion of the PTAB to continue to written decision for late stage settlements, especially those attempted after the patent owner response. (See CBM2012-00007)

2014 to Bring Significant PTAB Appeals to the CAFC

Posted On: Jan. 7, 2014   By: Scott A. McKeown

CAFC

USPTO Appeals to Grow for CAFC

In 2013 the patent-challenging public took notice of the USPTO’s Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) in a big way. With as many as 100 post-grant patent challenges being pursued per month at the PTAB, the unique considerations required to successfully navigate these proceedings from the PTAB on through to the Federal Circuit will become critical for patentees and third-party challengers alike.

Here is a link to my IP360 article on the topic, entitled 2 Fed. Circ. Rulings Will Impact PTAB Appeals In 2014.

PTAB Accelerates Post Grant Trial Schedules by Two Months

Posted On: Dec. 30, 2013   By: Scott A. McKeown
PTAB docketPTAB Begins Front Loading IPR & CBM Schedules

The new patent challenge proceedings of the USPTO’s Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) are instantly distinguishable from the previous examiner-based, patent reexamination—perhaps most notably in speed. That is, an Inter Partes Review (IPR), Post Grant Review (PGR) or Covered Business Method (CBM) must conclude, by statute, within 12 months of institution. This turnaround is a dramatic improvement over the 3-5 year pendencies that plagued patent reexamination. For this reason, the PTAB has been a major disruption to the business of patent licensing and assertion in the U.S; especially to that of the dreaded “patent troll.”

For patentees faced with a PTAB post grant challenge it’s only getting worse. As of mid-December, the PTAB has accelerated trial schedules so that oral argument is scheduled a mere 7 months from trial institution. This is a full two months earlier than the previous default schedule. Read the rest of this entry »