Patent Trial & Appeal Board

Failed PTAB Bill Reemerges For a 6th Time

Yesterday, U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.),Thom Tillis(R-N.C.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) introduced the Promoting and Respecting Economically Vital American Innovation Leadership (PREVAIL) Act (here). Also yesterday, some of the very same senators introduced the Patent Eligibility Restoration Act of 2023

The co-introduction of these bills suggests a plan to drive compromise on patent eligibility.Continue Reading New PTAB Bill to Drive 101 Compromise?

Bill to Reset Analysis

Today, U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced the Patent Eligibility Restoration Act of 2023. You can find the text of the bill (here).

The bill is a slightly refined version of the proposal floated last summer. Most of the changes seem directed to assessing the relevance of a mathematical formula as part of the claim, and making clear that otherwise patent ineligible subject matter cannot be saved by mere computer implementation. Presumably these changes are directed to addressing the concerns of those stakeholders in the predictable arts. (The lobbying force behind the effort has always been Bio/Pharma).

The bill essentially wipes the slate clean on 101 jurisprudence by eliminating all so-called “judicial exceptions.” As well it should. Despite those that would counsel otherwise, there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to the food-fight mess that is 101 jurisprudence.Continue Reading New 101 Bill to Avoid Case Law Morass

The ANPRM Proposals That Should Drop Out of the Process

Yesterday I highlighted the ANPRM proposals that are likely to make it into the NPRM this coming fall. Today, I’ll walk through the ones that I expect to be dropped, or at least heavily revised.

The vast majority of these “misfires” suffer from the same fatal deficiency — only Congress can provide for such modifications to the AIA. While the agency has substantive rule-making authority to implement the AIA, it does not have authority to implement regulations that effectively rewrite the AIA statutes themselves.

Given the push back from Congress on the apparent overreach of many of the ANPRM proposals, it is highly unlikely that the agency will carry such proposals forward to the NPRM. Continue Reading PTAB ANPRM – Misfires & Overextensions

ANPRNM Comments Due Today

Today is the comment deadline on the USPTO’s recent Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM). To date some 10,000 comments have been submitted.

At first blush the volume may seem impressive. Turns out, however, that the overwhelming majority of comments appear to be from random individuals spamming the agency with automated form submissions. These submissions do not even address the specific proposals of the ANPRM and offer little background, insight, or analysis other than a paragraph or two of “PTAB bad.” Others in the same spam bucket offer an identical rule proposal — to make the PTAB an opt-in system. Of course, the agency has no power to overrule a statute with a conflicting regulation to allow for opt-in.

Once the agency navigates through less than helpful dross, we can expect an NPRM in the fall responding to the actual ANPRM comments. My guess would be after the close of FY 2023 in early/mid October.

But, what will the actual NPRM look like? Certainly nothing like the ANPRM.Continue Reading PTAB ANPRM Comments & Spoilers

CLE Provided

This coming Thursday at 12PM (EST), IPWatchdog will host the free webinar entitled: PTAB Rules: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. The webinar will cover the recent Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), preview stakeholder reactions, Congressional concerns, and discuss the most likely outcomes. Register (here)

With comments due from

Reexamination Deference?

The excessive scope of the PTO’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on AIA Trial practices is deliberate as it provides favorable optics for the current administration.

Presenting all ideas to the public as opposed to culling out the more (ahem)… “creative,” showcases the open mindedness of the administration—particularly to patent owners. Perhaps a savvy move from a public relations perspective; not so much on the side of demonstrating competence to Congress. As the Director learned a week or so back when testifying before the House Judiciary, public proposals that appear to directly conflict with the AIA statutes, and/or encroach upon the role of the legislature are plainly unwelcome. That said, the warnings of Congress must be reinforced by stakeholder submissions.

The time is now for stakeholders to separate the wheat from the chaff through submitted comments (and in the process provide the agency political cover for the obvious cuts). And an absolute avalanche of comments is coming by the June 20th deadline.

I’ll post thoughts on as many of the proposals as possible here (on an ongoing basis), starting today with the worst of the worst. At the very top of the list of bad ideas is one that has the agency seemingly questioning the PTAB Trial Section’s very purpose. Continue Reading Proposal to Elevate Patent Reexamination Antithetical to AIA Statutes

Word Count Fees, Inflationary Bump, & Director Review

As I discussed earlier this week, the USPTO has released a laundry list of proposed practice changes for consideration — some, good, some bad, some ugly. One of the better ideas is allowing petitioners, for a commensurate expanded word count fee, to exceed the standard word count limit for a single petition such that larger claim sets can be addressed in a single filing. This avoids the current practice of splitting a single patent challenge across multiple petition filings.

The fees for the above proposal will be considered at a hearing next month, and are targeted to become effective for FY 2025. Additionally, existing PTAB filing fees are proposed to increase by 25%, justification for which is explained as a reaction to inflation and additional work resulting from Arthrex. And, finally, there is a new fee proposed for seeking Director Review.

Here’s the breakdown of the proposed increases and newly added fees:Continue Reading Increased PTAB Fees & Newly Proposed Costs

Unnecessarily Ambitious

Late last week the USPTO issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) that floated numerous rule proposals and requests for feedback — too numerous. Proposals addressing current 314(a) and 325(d) practices were not only expected, but long overdue. While these expected proposals were included in the sprawling Notice, the rule-making process will undoubtedly be bogged down by the remaining collection of controversial ideas and administrative over-reach.

Keep in mind that 314(a) Fintiv practices could soon be struck down as improper circumvention of APA rule-making. Stalling the issuance of those rules for at least another 12-18 months – if not longer – seems like a bad idea. My guess is political pressure from outside the agency led to the laundry list of additional proposals. Especially as they relate to for-profit entities in the wake of the Open Sky debacle.

Regardless, of how or why the expansive ANPRM came to be, I’ll walk through each proposal/idea in detail below (ANPRM here)Continue Reading PTAB Rule Ideas – The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Burden on Proponent of Affirmative Defense

Back in 2016 district courts started encountering infringement suits where the subject patents had survived PTAB challenge. In such scenarios, estoppel applied to failed petitioners under 35 U.S.C. § 315(e)(2). To asses whether invalidity defenses asserted in the later court case should be estopped as arguments that “reasonably could have been raised” in the failed IPRs, the courts needed to determine whether the newly asserted art could have been located by a reasonably skilled searcher at IPR filing. But, 325(e)(2) is silent as to which party bears the burden of proof on this issue of estoppel.

That is, does the Patent Challenger have to show that it could not have found the art with reasonable diligence, or, does the Patent Owner have to show that art could have been found with reasonable diligence?

Most courts held that since estoppel was an affirmative defense, the burden fell on the proponent patent owner. Today, in a precedential decision, the Federal Circuit agreed.Continue Reading PTAB Estoppel Proof Falls to Patent Owners