Stay or Dismissal of Litigation

October Webinar to Debrief on Leahy Bill

Senator Patrick Leahy (D) VT and Senator John Cornyn (R) TX have jointly drafted a new bill entitled the “Restoring the America Invents Act.” The Bill proposes to roll-back recent directives and policies of former USPTO Director Iancu, most notably discretionary denials of AIA trial proceedings in view

CAFC Cautions Against IPR Stay Considerations in Venue Dispute

A mandamus is considered an extraordinary remedy — especially in the venue context where district courts are accorded broad discretion.  Nevertheless, where a motion to transfer presents an indisputable right, mandamus is proper. Recently, the Federal Circuit has been uncharacteristically outspoken that the WDTX is doing it wrong.

The most recent WDTX mandamus on this issue, while unsuccessful, found the Federal Circuit once again pointing out improper analysis.
Continue Reading Judge Albright Faulted for Considering IPR Stay Likelihood in NDCA

Transitional CBM Challenge Program Sunsets Today

The America Invents Act (AIA) placed an expiration date on Covered Business Method (CBM) challenges.  That is, CBM review proceedings were designed as a “transitional program” that would sunset 8 years from enactment of the AIA – today is that day.

The legislative rationale behind setting an expiration for CBM was to target specific patents, namely, those  business method patents that issued between the State Street Bank, and Bilski decisions.  These patents were considered to be largely invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 having been issued under the more liberal 101 standard of State Street, and, providing a USPTO option for such 101 challenges was argued by the financial industry as the most efficient and cost effective path to resolution (as compared to the litigation of such issues by non-traditional patent defendants).

But, has the CBM program succeeded in neutralizing this alleged blip of invalid business method patents? If not, what is being done to potentially extend the program?
Continue Reading CBM Sunsets at the PTAB….For Now

SAS Weighs in Favor of Stay Pre-Institution

At the time SAS Institute first raised its challenge to the partial institution practices of the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB), I explained that should this argument ultimately prevail that it would be bad news for Patent Owners. Patent Owners facing a motion to stay pending PTAB review frequently leveraged partial institutions to defeat the stay. Such motions were denied because one of the factors considered in the motion analysis is the potential for “simplification of issues for trial.”  And where a trial would eventually be conducted regardless of PTAB outcome — the case when there was a partial institution — this factor weighed strongly in favor of Patent Owners continuing the district court litigation .

Post-SAS, this argument is now gone. The impact of SAS on common stay scenarios is already being felt by Patent Owners.
Continue Reading New SAS Reality Impacts Motion to Stay Analysis

SAS Institute To Send Patent Owners Screaming Into the Night?

The Supreme Court will get a heavy dose of the PTAB on November 27th. That is the day the High Court will hear oral arguments in both the Oil States and SAS Institute appeals. While almost all of the focus to date has been on Oil States, the case that is likely to have the biggest impact on the PTAB is SAS.

As a reminder, SAS argues that partial PTAB trial institutions are inconsistent with the controlling statutes of the America Invents Act (AIA).  That is, if the PTAB finds that at least one claim is demonstrated as reasonably likely to be proven (RLP) unpatentable, the PTAB should institute an IPR trial for all petitioned claims. As of today, if a petitioner challenges, say claims 1-10 of a patent, the PTAB assesses each claim as to the RLP standard.  So, if the PTAB is not satisfied as to claims 5-6 of claims 1-10, trial would only go forward on claims 1-4 and 7-10.

If SAS is successful on appeal, PTAB trials would go forward on all claims as long as a single claim of the petition was deemed to meet the RLP standard. This would be a significant change to PTAB trial practice with unfortunate consequences for Patent Owners.
Continue Reading SAS Institute & The PTAB: Be Afraid Patent Owners

EDTX Denial of CBM Stay Deemed Abuse of Discretion

Back in March I recounted the curious case of VirtualAgility Inc., v. Salesforce.com Inc., et al. (EDTX). In this dispute, Salesforce.com sought a stay of the EDTX litigation pending Covered Business Method (CBM) review of the VirtualAgility patent. The CBM petition was filed with the USPTO Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) on May 24, 2013 as CBM2013-00024.

The EDTX determined that a stay was unlikely to simplify the issues for trial based upon an independent assessment of the CBM. This was despite the fact that the PTAB went forward with the CBM (i.e., determined that all of the claims were more likely than not unpatentable on multiple grounds), and the patentee had already amended their claims. Thereafter the case was effectively stayed anyway pending interlocutory appeal to the CAFC (a right newly provided by the CBM statute).
Continue Reading CAFC Reverses EDTX on Second Guessing of PTAB

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Texas Court Stuns Patent Troll Business Model

Texas has become well known, some would say infamous, for their patent friendly federal district courts. Over the years, “patent trolls” have increasingly flocked to Texas District Courts such as the eastern district (Marshall) to leverage these pro-patentee forums.

Since September 16, 2012, new USPTO post grant patent proceedings have been increasingly leveraged as the first true alternative to patent litigation. Here again, Texas courts offered patentees a benefit over many other districts in the U.S. That is, historically, Texas judges have been reluctant to stay litigation pending USPTO reexamination proceedings. To date, most presumed that this historical bias against staying litigation pending USPTO reexamination would continue despite the increase in speed in the new patent challenge proceedings of the America Invents Act (AIA). Yet, as made clear last week, the heightened standard necessary to institute an Inter Partes Review at the USPTO’s Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB), coupled with the recent outcome in Fresenius USA v. Baxter Int’l. (CAFC 2013), has Texas courts rethinking the wisdom of their previous anti-stay stance.
Continue Reading Texas Court Explains PTAB Roadblock to Patent Litigation

Court Cites Improved Speed of PTAB as Eliminating Potential Prejudice

The primary business distinctions between the USPTO Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) proceedings and traditional court based patent invalidity proceedings are the vast improvements in cost, predictability, effectiveness, and speed of PTAB proceedings— but it is the speed and effectiveness that is changing the perspective of the judiciary on staying litigation pending USPTO proceedings.

As most are aware, the old patent reexamination system, at least on the inter partes side, has been replaced by IPR. IPR must be concluded by statute within 12-18 months, a marked improvement over the (roughly speaking) previous 6+year path through the Central Reexamination Unit (CRU), Board of Patent Appeals & Interferences (BPAI) and Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). These changes are being quickly recognized by courts, several of which have agreed to halt litigation proceedings upon the mere filing of an IPR (months in advance of an Order to grant the IPR petitions).

Previously, when an inter partes or ex parte patent reexamination was the basis for the motion to stay the court proceeding, the strongest plaintiff arguments in opposition were that the significant USPTO delay would prove prejudicial to the plaintiff…not any more.
Continue Reading PTAB Speed Changes Court’s Mind on Motion to Stay Calculus

Increased Speed and Heightened Threshold Showing for New PTAB Proceedings Drive Stays

The primary business distinctions between the USPTO Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) proceedings and traditional court based patent invalidity proceedings are the vast improvements in cost, predictability, effectiveness, and speed of PTAB proceedings— but it is the speed and effectiveness that is changing the perspective of the judiciary on staying litigation pending USPTO proceedings.

As most are aware, the old patent reexamination system, at least on the inter partes side, has been replaced by IPR. IPR must be concluded by statute within 12-18 months, a marked improvement over the (roughly speaking) previous 6+year path through the Central Reexamination Unit (CRU), Board of Patent Appeals & Interferences (BPAI) and Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). These changes are being quickly recognized by courts, several of which have agreed to halt litigation proceedings upon the mere filing of an IPR (months in advance of an Order to grant the IPR petitions).

Previously, when an inter partes patent reexamination was the basis for the motion to stay the court proceeding, the strongest plaintiff arguments in opposition were that the significant USPTO delay would prove prejudicial to the plaintiff. Indeed, some of the cases stayed in the early days of inter partes reexamination are only now being reopened, 8 years later. 
Continue Reading Stays Pending USPTO Review to Increase as a Result of Speedier AIA Options

Liberal Stay Policy Thwarts Patent Suits in New Jersey

Non-practicing entities or “patent trolls” are generally those plaintiffs that seek to enforce patent rights against an industry in which they themselves do not compete. Stated another way, an NPE’s only business is patent litigation.

Often times the patents an NPE is enforcing were purchased from a traditional technology company for the sole purpose of exacting royalties from the relevant industry. In the hands of an NPE, which has no technological industry subject to a patent counter suit by their industry targets, the NPE patents become especially powerful weapons of economic coercion.

Over the last decade, law firms have recognized the efficacy of NPE litigation campaigns and have signed on in great numbers to get a piece of the action. Typically, an NPE will team up with a law firm that will conduct the campaign on their behalf in exchange for a contingent fee arrangement. (i.e., percentage of the collected settlements). This profiteerring business model has lead to a significant proliferation of patent infringement suits.

Just not in New Jersey.
Continue Reading New Jersey Solves Patent Troll Problem