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?

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

Boardside Chat Focuses on Multiple Petition Outcomes

This coming Thursday, December 10th, from noon to 1 p.m. ET, the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) will offer its next Boardside Chat Webinar to discuss several aspects of PTAB trial proceedings.

Lead Judge Bill Saindon will present the results of the PTAB’s recently updated multiple petitions

Online Form Will Simplify Request Procedure

To date, in order to submit an amicus brief in a PTAB case selected for Precedential Opinion Panel (POP) consideration, an interested party would either look to an Order from the Board in a subject case inviting such, or approach the Board/parties to communicate their request to the assigned panel. Today the Board introduced an online form to submit such requests directly to the agency. (here)

The Board obviously has an interest in simplifying procedures, but, of particular note here is the potential benefit of this interface to pending disputes over administrative law practices of the agency.
Continue Reading PTAB Adds Online Interface for POP Related Amicus Requests

New Precedent/Informative Decisions Demonstrate Nexus Considerations

Yesterday, the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) designated one new precedential case, and two informative decisions directed to the application of objective indicia to obviousness determinations.  Collectively, the decisions outline the necessary degree of nexus between subject claims and submitted objective indicia.
Continue Reading PTAB Highlights Successful Application of Objective Indicia

CAFC Decision Moots Some POP Consideration in Hunting Titan Dispute

Last November, the PTAB ordered Precedential Opinion Panel (POP) review of the final written decision in  Hunting Titan, Inc. v. DynaEnergetics GmbH & Co. KG, Inc., IPR2018-00600. The rehearing request in Hunting Titan sought review of the Board’s denial of a Motion to Amend based upon an alleged sua sponte modification of a petitioner’s anticipation ground by the panel (here).  That is, the POP is reviewing the Board’s role in the amendment process where a petitioner either decides not to challenge an amended claim, or does so in a deficient manner that is apparent to the expert agency.

But the Federal Circuit has now weighed in on most aspects of this debate.
Continue Reading CAFC Finds “Little Sense” in Limiting the PTAB on Amended Claims

NHK Swallows General Plastic

The America Invents Act (AIA) was passed into law in 2011 to provide a more cost-effective, faster alternative to district court patent litigation.  At the time, bill sponsors explained that some of America’s largest innovators were paying more to their patent lawyers in a given year — to defend against “patent troll” suits— than they were on new research and development.  The role of the Eastern District of Texas (EDTX) in this perceived problem was not lost on legislators.  Provisions were added to the AIA to address perceived joinder abuses in the EDTX.  And, in many respects, EDTX plaintiff behaviors abruptly transformed the AIA from an esoteric, multi-year legislative debate, into law.

Of course, EDTX remains one of the most popular patent venues in the U.S. despite the AIA, and additional efforts to rein in this venue option in TC Heartland.  More recently, EDTX has inspired a copycat venue in the Western District of Texas (WDTX), which has seen a 700% increase in patent cases since 2016. The expansion in popularity of Texas district courts, especially for non-practicing entities (NPEs), makes the PTAB’s recent deference to such litigation under its NHK precedent all the more troubling given its AIA mandate.
Continue Reading Texas Plaintiffs More Likely to Side-Step PTAB?