Expert Agency Shown Deference in Matters of Claim Scope

While IPR petitioners may only challenge patent claims based upon patents and printed publications (§§ 102 and 103), the PTAB trial record can be leveraged in parallel district court proceedings on related issues.  For example, PTAB fact findings on claim construction have been adopted by district courts on motions for summary judgment. And recently, a plaintiff in the District of Utah leveraged a PTAB finding to obtain a favorable outcome regarding indefiniteness on summary judgment.
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Attorney Fees Available for Successful Defendant

As discussed back in September, district courts look to PTAB developments in assessing fee awards under 35 U.S.C. § 285. Recently the Eastern District of Michigan suggested that it could even find “exceptional” conduct at the PTAB as the sole basis for attorney fees.

Last week, the Southern District of California found that conduct substantially before the PTAB entitled a successful petitioner to attorney fees.
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CAFC Implies PTO Might Overlook Some 112 Issues

The Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) does not accept trial grounds under 35 U.S.C § 112 in Inter Partes Review.  This is because the IPR statutes only authorize trial grounds based on patents and printed publications.  The same has been true of patent reexamination for decades.

Last week, in Samsung Elec. Am., Inc. v. Prisua Eng’g Corp., the Federal Circuit considered whether the Board may cancel claims under 112 when such issues arise during trial.  The Court held that the PTAB may not cancel claims under 112, but instead, might, for certain types of claims, proceed to decide the prior art grounds.
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New Tactics & Risks for Litigators

On Monday, I laid out my Top 5 PTAB cases of 2019 for PTAB Practitioners, focusing on those cases that changed day-to-day practices before the agency. Like Monday’s list, my Top 5 PTAB developments of 2019 for District Court Litigators will focus on those practical developments that will impact related litigation practices outside of the agency.

In 2019, there were a number developments of interest to litigators, from tricks to avoid the PTAB altogether, to new risks on fee awards and estoppel.  
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PTAB 2019: A Year of New Precedent

There were a number of high profile developments at the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) in 2019. New procedures for amending claims, Practice Guide updates to thwart parallel petition filings, a successful constitutional challenge based on the Appointments Clause, and another SCOTUS review of the PTAB appeal bar.  But, not all of these developments impact the day-to-day life of PTAB practitioners.  Of greater interest to PTAB practitioners are the developments that change the game for the average AIA trial, with this in mind, below are my Top 5 PTAB Practitioner Developments of 2019.
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Totality of Circumstances for Determining Public Accessibility

Over the years, the Patent Trial & Appeal Board had become panel dependent in assessing questions of public accessibility at institution.  Some panels seemed to require a showing of a likelihood of public accessibility to move forward, while others  required a more definitive showing.  Last spring, the Precedential Opinion Panel (POP) took up this growing rift in institution standards in Hulu, LLC v. Sound View Innovations, LLC, Case IPR2018-01039. Specifically,  the  POP addressed the requirements for establishing that a reference qualifies as a printed publication at the time of institution.

In its now precedential decision, the Board found that a more flexible approach was needed at institution.
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Overview for Those New to AIA Trials

The Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) will conduct a Boardside Chat today from noon to 1PM (EST) for those wanting to learn AIA Trial basics.  Lead Judge James Worth and Judge Alyssa Finamore will walk through the AIA trial process and explain each step in detail. Access

Well, that Escalated Quickly…

On the heels of the supplemental briefing discussed yesterday, the Federal Circuit has already issued its decision in  Arthrex Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc.  The Court has vacated and remanded the decision, ordering  a new hearing before a panel of different APJs, prospectively remedying the issue by severing the problematic aspect of 35 U.S.C. § 3(c).

So, what does this mean for pending appeals?
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