Stark and Vidal Nominations Head to Finish Line

Tomorrow morning, the Senate Judiciary will pass the nominations of Leonard P. Stark to be United States Circuit Judge for the Federal Circuit, and Katherine Vidal to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property & Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, to the

Director Vidal 2022

The Senate Judiciary vetted USPTO Director Nominee Kathy Vidal earlier this month.  Not surprisingly, the hearing was fairly uneventful (even for uber-geeks, like myself).  With a confirmation vote looming, some final written materials have been submitted by Ms. Vidal that are similarly generic in espousing any particular viewpoint that could be labeled as “pro-patent” or “anti-patent.”  That said, reading the tea-leaves, there are some PTAB developments that seem inevitable for 2022 given the current landscape.
Continue Reading Expect Slight PTAB Adjustments From the New Director in 2022

Draft Bill Dead on Arrival

Last week, the “Restoring America’s Leadership in Innovation Act” was again floated by Republican Congressman Thomas Massie (KY).  The same draft Bill was previously released in 2018 and 2020.  Backed only by a handful of relatively powerless House Republicans, the Bill proposes a number of highly controversial measures.  But, if you are going to dream, dream big!
Continue Reading Make Patent Trolls Great Again!

Do Private Arbitration Agreements Undermine Public Policy?

With Congress considering “encouraging” stays of patent litigation pending concurrent PTAB review, licensors may begin to look to contractual  mechanisms to avoid a PTAB filing altogether.  The strategy is not unprecedented, and may provide a way for district courts to enjoin the agency from moving forward with AIA trials.

But, should private agreements thwart mechanisms designed to remove improvidently granted patent monopolies?
Continue Reading Avoiding the PTAB by Private Agreement?

Same Questions, Different Rubric?

Senator Patrick Leahy has now proposed draft legislation to add Obviousness-Type Double Patenting (OTDP) to IPR jurisdiction. The argument for adding this potential ground is that it is an important control to combat improperly extended drug monopolies (the justification underlying much of the legislative proposal).  Whether this provision makes it to law is far from clear given the likely push back from Bio/Pharma.

In the meantime, a Pharma dispute recently argued that OTDP is basically the same PTAB obviousness analysis under a different rubric.  An awkward argument given the coming storm.
Continue Reading PTAB Estoppel & Double Patenting?

CAFC Says “No”…Ninth Circuit Says “Yes”

Under 35 U.S.C. § 285, a prevailing party in a patent infringement dispute may be awarded reasonable attorney fees in “exceptional cases.” I’ve previously discussed the contours of what constitutes an “exceptional” case based upon earlier cases. In 2018, the Central District of California awarded attorney’s fees stemming from a parallel PTAB proceeding, and in 2019 a Michigan court held that conduct at the PTAB may even be permissible as being the sole basis for fees in parallel district court proceedings. Most recently, however, based upon the guidance of the Federal Circuit, 285 has not been extended to attorney fees incurred during a PTAB proceeding.
Continue Reading Circuits Split on PTAB Fees Being Recoverable Under 285

Study Shows Bio/Pharma Patents Fare Better at PTAB

A few years back, the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) released a study showing the outcome of proceedings directed to so-called “Orange Book” patents. That study demonstrated that Orange book/Biologic patents were more likely to survive PTAB proceedings relative to other patents. Last week, the 2018 study was updated.

The update shows the performance of Orange Book/Biologic patents at the PTAB since 2012.
Continue Reading Bio/Pharma Patents Fare Best at PTAB

AIPLA Webinar Next Tuesday

For those seeking some PTAB-related CLE, consider next Tuesday’s AIPLA webinar @12:30 (EST) entitled:  Discretionary Denials Revisited: The New Politics of FintivRegister (here)

The program will explore the increasing politicization of the USPTO Director position, and what may be on the horizon relative to the uncodified discretionary