Bill Released – Iancu Era Rebuked

Well, the wait was not that long after all.  Senator Leahy -VT (D) (with co-sponsor Senator Cornyn – Tx (R)) has today released the draft bill entitled “Restoring the America Invents Act.”  The bill includes most of what I expected, with a handful of additional tweaks.

Below is a brief overview of all of the proposed changes.
Continue Reading Restoring the America Invents Act – What You Need to Know

Court Holds Fact Finders May Compare Document Versions

Over the years, the Federal Circuit has faulted the PTAB for overly rigid printed publication analysis.  A recent Federal Circuit decision has provided further guidance on how the PTAB should determine what constitutes prior art in AIA trial proceedings, especially as it relates to the duties of a fact finder.
Continue Reading PTAB Faulted on Rigid Printed Publication Analysis

CAFC Says “No”…Ninth Circuit Says “Yes”

Under 35 U.S.C. § 285, a prevailing party in a patent infringement dispute may be awarded reasonable attorney fees in “exceptional cases.” I’ve previously discussed the contours of what constitutes an “exceptional” case based upon earlier cases. In 2018, the Central District of California awarded attorney’s fees stemming from a parallel PTAB proceeding, and in 2019 a Michigan court held that conduct at the PTAB may even be permissible as being the sole basis for fees in parallel district court proceedings. Most recently, however, based upon the guidance of the Federal Circuit, 285 has not been extended to attorney fees incurred during a PTAB proceeding.
Continue Reading Circuits Split on PTAB Fees Being Recoverable Under 285

AIPLA Webinar Next Tuesday

For those seeking some PTAB-related CLE, consider next Tuesday’s AIPLA webinar @12:30 (EST) entitled:  Discretionary Denials Revisited: The New Politics of FintivRegister (here)

The program will explore the increasing politicization of the USPTO Director position, and what may be on the horizon relative to the uncodified discretionary

Pursuing Different Constructions Before the PTAB & Court?

Since the PTAB started applying the Philips standard for claim construction, petitioners have put a lot more thought into their proposed claim constructions. This is because it is no longer possible to point to the PTAB’s use of the broadest reasonable interpretation (BRI) as the basis for a different construction.

Now, petitioners are very careful to be consistent with disputed terms.  But, what happens if a petitioner argues for a broader construction at the PTAB, then argues for a more narrowed construction in the district court?
Continue Reading Keeping Your PTAB Story Straight

New PTAB Roadblocks & Strategies

Earlier this week I laid out my Top 5 PTAB cases of 2020 for PTAB Practitioners, focusing on those cases that changed day-to-day practices before the agency. Like the practitioner list, my Top 5 PTAB developments of 2020 for District Court Litigators will focus on those practical PTAB developments that will impact parallel litigation practices outside of the agency.

In 2020, there were a number developments of interest to litigators, from litigation forums where a PTAB challenge is foreclosed or highly unlikely, to stipulations for avoiding PTAB discretionary denials, and new risks of collateral estoppel across a litigated portfolio.
Continue Reading Top 5 PTAB Developments of 2020 for District Court Litigators

CAFC Refuses Remand on 112 6th Deficiencies

When challenging claims at the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB), Rule 42.104(b)(3) requires a Petitioner to identify the specific portions of a challenged patent’s specification that describe the structure corresponding to a claim’s means-plus-function claim feature.  Of course, if a petitioner fails to do so, the Board will reject Petitioner’s challenge for failing to comply with the Rule.  To the frustration of petitioners, however, where that failure is based upon the shortcomings of the challenged patent itself, the PTAB is  precluded from officially making such an indefiniteness determination.  Instead, the Board will simply conclude that the rule has not been satisfied.

A week back, the Federal Circuit reiterated this shortcoming of the IPR statutes.
Continue Reading PTAB Can’t Find Means-Plus-Function Claims Defective

Unrebutted Secondary Indicia Considered in Assessing Becton-Dickinson Factors

The submission of so-called “objective indicia of non-obviousness” at the PTAB is rarely effective, especially in the predictable arts (i.e., mechanical/electrical).  This is because the most common form of such evidence, “commercial success” is often difficult to tie to any particular claim feature (unlike drug formulations, for example).  That said, as a Graham Factor that is assessed in an obviousness determination, the failure to address previously established indicia could prove fatal to your petition. 
Continue Reading PTAB Denies Petition Overlooking Objective Indicia of Non-Obviousness

Statutory Petition Requirement Correctable

Back in April I discussed the Patent Trial & Appeal Board’s (PTAB) evolving position that an updated RPI designation did not require a resetting of the petition filing date. That is, despite telling Congress that the RPI was a statutory requirement for a petition to be considered in 2015, and that correction of RPI required a new filing date, the Board migrated to a new view that such mistakes could be excused if made without deceptive intent (more recently relying on a footnote in Wifi-One explaining the Board’s practice of accepting corrections to defective filings.)

Last week, the Federal Circuit issued a precedential opinion finding that the PTAB’s interpretation of its remedial regulations in this regard were not plainly erroneous or inconsistent.
Continue Reading CAFC Endorses PTAB Practice of Accepting Late RPI Designations