PTAB Reform Act of 2022

Back in September of 2021, the “Restoring the America Invents Act” was released by Senators Leahy (D-VT) and Cornyn (R-TX). The bill sought to reverse virtually every PTAB development of the Iancu administration. At the time, I outlined my thoughts on the various provisions, and predicted the most controversial—from a bio/pharma perspective— would serve as cannon fodder.

Last week, a revised bill reemerged entitled the “PTAB Reform Act of 2022.” The new bill, includes most of the content of the earlier bill with only issues of particular interest to bio/pharma left on the cutting room floor.

Continue Reading Proposed PTAB Reforms Adjusted for Bio/Pharma

Tillis/Hirono Demand Answers on OpenSky

Barely on the job for a week, Director Vidal is already being politically pressured to address a festering issue of patent policy.   That issue—the use of a recycled IPR petition as a means to collaterally attack large damage verdicts— is a self-inflicted wound for the agency.  The OpenSky business model wouldn’t exist absent the ill conceived expansion of discretionary denial practices under former Director Iancu.

Senator Tillis (a vocal supporter of Director Iancu) sent a letter to the agency this past Wednesday demanding answers….gotta love politics.
Continue Reading Senate Grows Impatient with PTAB

New Confirmation to Drive New Policy?

At long last, the Senate has finally confirmed Kathy Vidal as the new PTO Director….just in time to tender her resignation before the next administration!  Ok, maybe not quite that late.  But considering it can take close to two years for any Notice and Comment Rulemaking to get through the system, these appointment delays can seriously hamstring a Director’s ability to drive any significant policy change.

So, the new Director needs to hit the ground running.  And, as usual, the PTAB offers some early hurdles.
Continue Reading Finally, a New PTO Director. Now What?

High Value Disputes Spawning Wild-West Antics

I previously explained how Fintiv discretionary practices had spawned a new, cottage industry.  That is, with fully developed PTAB petitions being available to the public — denied only as a matter of discretion unique to the original filer— profiteers formed to simply refile such petitions.  The apparent goal being to leverage the publicly available petition materials where high-value verdicts had been subsequently secured on the subject patent.  With IPR institution leverage (or threat thereof) co-pending with a high-value verdict, this business model presumes that a patent owner would be open to a quick cash settlement.

One such profiteer, a company identifying itself as “Open Sky Industries,” recently leveraged early petition materials of Intel that pertained to its patent dispute with VLSI.  That dispute went to trial in the district court after Intel’s IPR petitions were denied under Fintiv.  At trial, a $2 billion+ verdict was entered.  Thereafter, Open Sky was successful in refiling Intel’s IPR materials, getting trials instituted on the subject patents with little to no cost or investment of its own.  The propriety of such re-filing practices is subject to an outstanding POP panel request.

If the optics of this practice weren’t bad enough for the PTAB….it has just gotten worse.
Continue Reading PTAB Needs to Immediately Check Unethical Practices

Federal Circuit Reverses Newest Member

The concept of excluding the PTAB via a forum selection clause is not a new idea.  Back in 2019 I highlighted this option as the #1 development in PTAB practice for district court litigators.  Since that time, there have been a handful of cases that sought to leverage this mechanism. Earlier this week, the Federal Circuit was given another opportunity to explore this topic, and the potential policy consequences of such private agreements.
Continue Reading Shutting Out the PTAB Via Private Agreement

Virtual CLE Program January 24 – 27th

IPWatchdog’s PTAB Masters 2022 (PTAB-palooza if you prefer), is coming next week!

The free, 4-day CLE program is virtual, and will focus on the PTAB from the viewpoint of both the patent owner and petitioners challenging patents.  Topics will explore political and legislative developments impacting the agency in

Stark and Vidal Nominations Head to Finish Line

Tomorrow morning, the Senate Judiciary will pass the nominations of Leonard P. Stark to be United States Circuit Judge for the Federal Circuit, and Katherine Vidal to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property & Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, to the

Director Vidal 2022

The Senate Judiciary vetted USPTO Director Nominee Kathy Vidal earlier this month.  Not surprisingly, the hearing was fairly uneventful (even for uber-geeks, like myself).  With a confirmation vote looming, some final written materials have been submitted by Ms. Vidal that are similarly generic in espousing any particular viewpoint that could be labeled as “pro-patent” or “anti-patent.”  That said, reading the tea-leaves, there are some PTAB developments that seem inevitable for 2022 given the current landscape.
Continue Reading Expect Slight PTAB Adjustments From the New Director in 2022