Patent Owners Largely Ignore Ex Parte Amendment Options

A few weeks back the USPTO issued a Notice Regarding Options for Amendments by Patent Owner Through Reissue or Reexamination During a Pending AIA Trial Proceeding (here). The Notice provided no new information, instead, it served to remind the public that reissue/reexamination options exist to amend claims outside of AIA trials. Given the continuous public outcry over AIA amendment difficulties, one would expect a fairly robust jump in reexam/reissue filing rates—especially as these options provide an ex parte amendment process.

However, as recent Patent Trial & Appeal PTAB statistics show, very few Patent Owners are pursuing these traditional amendment paths.
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Thursday Webinar Addresses Parallel Post-Grant Proceedings

This Thursday, April 25th, from noon to 1 p.m. ET, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Central Reexamination Unit (CRU) will host a Boardside Chat webinar presenting information on the interplay of AIA trial proceedings under the America Invents Act (AIA), reissue applications, and reexamination proceedings.

Federal Register Notice Advertises Alternative PTAB Amendment Options

Last Friday the USPTO published a notice in the Federal Register entitled: Notice Regarding Options for Amendments by Patent Owner Through Reissue or Reexamination During a Pending AIA Trial Proceeding (here). The Notice outlines considerations for stakeholders pursuing reexam/reissue as an alternative amendment path to Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) AIA trial mechanisms. While, the Notice is careful to emphasize that each case will be considered on its own merits, and provides aspects of the record that will be considered in this regard, practically speaking, most such proceedings will be stayed pending an AIA trial.

The true point of the Notice is to advertise that there are other, ex parte options for amending patents that are separate and apart from the PTAB’s controversial amendment processes.
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CRU Faster Than Before AIA, Provides Options for Patent Owners

Patent reexamination filings have fallen 86% since 2012.  With the elimination of the popular inter partes patent reexamination option in 2012, an overall decrease was certainly expected.  However, ex parte reexamination filings continue to drop every year.  Only 191 ex parte reexamination requests were filed in 2017.  This was the lowest number of ex parte reexamination filings since the mid-1990s.  While an ex parte patent challenge is far less appealing to a patent challenger than a contested proceeding (AIA trial proceeding), and this factor has undoubtedly contributed to the decreasing numbers, patent reexamination and other post-grant proceedings of the Central Reexamination Unit (CRU) still provide unique rehabilitation opportunities for patent owners.


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Best Practices for Presenting Prior Art

Join the PTAB for the final Boardside Chat webinar of 2017 today, Dec. 7 from noon-1 p.m. ET. The chat will discuss “Best Practices for Presenting Prior Art References and Proving a Document is a Printed Publication.”

PTAB Judges Lora Green and Brian McNamara will present and

Long Delayed Fee Increase Hits January 16th

Section 10 of the Leahy‐Smith America Invents Act (AIA) authorizes the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to, in part, “set or adjust by rule any fee established, authorized, or charged” under Title 35 of the United States Code. At the close of 2016, a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) issued requesting comments from the public on proposed fee increases for post-grant patent proceedings, including AIA trials. A Final Rule Notice issued today setting significant increases to take effect on January 16th 2018 for AIA Trial Proceedings.
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Article III Standing Only Necessary for Party Invoking Authority of Federal Courts

Last week, I analyzed the government’s arguments supporting Article III standing for intervenors in Knowles Electronics v. Matal. In that case, the panel questioned whether the government had Article III standing to intervene in a case where the original appellee dropped out. As to the arguments presented by the government, I explained that I found the most compelling argument to be that the agency can piggyback off of the Article III standing of the appellant as the standing inquiry is properly directed at those who invoke the court’s jurisdiction. 

Yesterday, two of the three judges (Newman, Clevenger) on the Knowles panel agreed with the above “piggyback” argument in Personal Audio, LLC v. Electronic Frontier Foundation.


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Moving Forward on Indefinite Claims Could Haunt Petitioners

Often times when preparing an Inter Partes Review (IPR) petition, a claim is encountered that may be of an indeterminate scope under 35 U.S.C. 112. As indefiniteness issues are not considered in IPR, the question then becomes: Should the broadest of the possible competing construction for the claim term be proposed in order to get an IPR instituted on the claim? Or, should the petitioner avoid proposing a construction for an indefinite term to reserve rights for a later, district court challenge?  Of course, holding back claims for a later district court proceeding is typically disfavored given the entire point of IPR, in most cases, is to avoid the expense of district court litigation.  For that reason, most petitioners forge ahead to attack the indefinite claim.

As explained by the Federal Circuit this week in Sonix Technology Co., Ltd. V. Pubs. Int’l Ltd. et al., (here), Petitioners would be wise to note the 112 issue in their petitions.


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PTAB Specific Webinars Offered by USPTO

The full slate of 2017 Boardside Chat webinars have been announced for 2017. The BoardSide Chat series is a bi-monthly webinar that is free to the public. As with past webinars, the Board will share updates on topics related to ex parte appeals and AIA trials. There will be time during each webinar for audience questions and feedback.

Please see the schedule below:
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