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?

Court Finds Issue Joinder Inconsistent with AIA Statute

As I predicted back in August, the Federal Circuit has now effectively reversed the PTAB’s first Precedential Opinion Panel (POP) decision in Proppant Express Investments v. Oren Technologies, Case IPR2018-00914 (PTAB Mar. 13, 2019) (Paper 38)  In this decision, the POP held that 35 U.S.C. § 315(c) provides discretion to allow a petitioner to be “joined” to a proceeding in which it is already a party, and provides discretion to allow joinder of new issues into an existing proceeding (here).

In  Facebook, Inc. v. Windy City Innovations, LLC, the Federal Circuit held that 315(c) was not ambiguous—an existing “party” to a proceeding cannot be joined as a party— and, as such there was no reason to even consider the earlier POP precedent for according any Chevron or Skidmore deference.  However, the Court then went on to explain that even if there were ambiguity, the POP decision would not be accorded deference in accordance with administrative law principles.
Continue Reading CAFC Reverses PTAB POP Precedent

October Boardside Chat to Cover FY2019 PTAB Changes

With today being the last day of FY2019, the October Boardside Chat will look back at all of the 2019 changes to ex parte appeal and AIA trial procedures. The webinar is scheduled for October 10th, from noon to 1 p.m. (EST).

The FY2019 changes include the

PTAB Designates Two Older Decisions as Precedential, Updates Hearing Rooms/Notices

The Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) has designated two more decisions precedential. The first addresses the 315(b) fling deadline, while the other pre-institution statutory disclaimer.

In addition to expanding precedent, the Board has also expanded hearing room space and options.
Continue Reading PTAB Adds Precedent & Hearing Room Features

Precedential & Informative Decision Update Today

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) will host a Boardside Chat webinar today, from noon to 1pm (EST). Vice Chief Judge Scott Weidenfeller, Judge Kevin Cherry, and Judge Amanda Weiker will discuss PTAB decisions designated over the summer as precedential and informative.

The PTAB held a similar webinar

Issue Joinder on the Way Out?

As discussed some months back, the Patent Trial & Appeal Board’s (PTAB) new Precedential Opinion Panel (POP) decided its first case in Proppant Express Investments v. Oren Technologies, Case IPR2018-00914 (PTAB Mar. 13, 2019) (Paper 38)  In this decision, the POP held that 35 U.S.C. § 315(c) provides discretion to allow a petitioner to be “joined” to a proceeding in which it is already a party, and provides discretion to allow joinder of new issues into an existing proceeding (here).

This practice, known as “issue joinder” is now before the Federal Circuit. And, the Court does not appear receptive to the agency’s statutory interpretation.
Continue Reading CAFC Poised to Strike Down PTAB’s First POP Decision

New Decisions Provide Guidance on Discretionary Denials

The Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) has been steadily rolling out new precedent since establishing it Precedential Opinion Panel (POP). Last Friday a few more decisions were added to the growing pile. The newest decisions: two precedential and one informative serve to clarify 325(d) and 314(a) considerations, while the third informative decision warns against excessive and voluminous prior art presentations.
Continue Reading PTAB Continues to Roll Out Precedent