The Impact of SAS Institute on Statutory Estoppel
IPR estoppel is established under 35 U.S.C. § 315(e)(2), which provides that “the petitioner in an inter partes review of a claim in a patent . . . that results in a final written decision . . . may not assert . . . in a civil action . . . that the claim is invalid on any ground that the petitioner raised or reasonably could have raised during that inter partes review.” (emphasis added). Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in SAS Institute, the courts did not apply statutory estoppel to grounds upon which the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) refused to institute trial. The reasoning was that statutory estoppel under 35 U.S.C. § 315(e)(2) only applied to grounds adjudicated in a Final Written Decision (FWD). As such, grounds shaken out (i.e., partial institutions) prior to trial could not be covered by such estoppel.
Post-SAS, of course, there are no longer partial institutions and this previous distinction simply goes away. But what happens to those partially instituted cases that remain pending, can a petitioner side-step the revived SAS grounds in the hope of holding onto this estoppel exception? Continue Reading Failure to Pursue SAS Grounds Leads to Statutory Estoppel