Issue Joinder Practices Poised to Reset
As previously discussed, the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) is now reconsidering its issue joinder practices. These practices were the subject of significant debate internal to the Board a few years back. The inability of the Board to arrive at a majority consensus on whether issue joinder was permitted by the AIA statutes led to the now infamous “panel stacking” decisions. These expanded panel decisions provided a brute force solution to the conflicting positions on the question of issue joinder, a de facto precedent of sorts.
With the new Precedential Opinion Panel, or “POP,” allowing for a more streamlined process for making precedent, the Board seems poised to drive official PTAB precedent on this question — but in a new direction.