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Shifting “Sands”: New Facts on the Ground Justify Institution of a Previously-Denied IPR

June 25, 2020 | Blog | By Michael Renaud, Adam Rizk, Daniel Weinger, Serge Subach

In a rare reversal, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) reassessed the Fintiv factors in a decision on a petition for rehearing of a previous decision denying institution of an inter partes review (“IPR”).  
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PTAB Designates As Informative a Decision Instituting Post-Grant Review for a Design Patent Lacking Ornamentality

June 16, 2020 | Blog | By Brad M Scheller, Vincent Ferraro, Meena Seralathan

On June 11, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) designated as informative a July 26, 2019 institution decision granting post-grant review of a design patent for lacking ornamentality. In this ruling, the PTAB provides insight into how it analyzes the unpatentability of a design patent due to lack of ornamentality in post-grant proceedings at the institution stage.
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The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) recently sent a warning to alleged infringers not to wait for the one year deadline to file IPR petitions, or risk discretionary denial.  On May 13, 2020, the PTAB exercised its discretion to deny institution of an inter partes review (“IPR”) petition filed by Apple due to the advanced state of a parallel district court litigation in the Western District of Texas.
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Federal Circuit Narrows Availability for IPR Appeals Under Arthrex

May 14, 2020 | Blog | By Marc Morley, Jeff Giering

By recognizing a constitutional deficiency in the appointment of Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) judges, the Federal Circuit in Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., 941 F.3d 1320 (Fed. Cir. 2019) set the stage for numerous appeals by parties unhappy with a PTAB decision and seeking a do-over with a new panel. 
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PTAB Presses Pause On All Arthrex Remands

May 12, 2020 | Blog | By William Meunier, Daniel Weinger, Vincent Ferraro, Matthew Galica

On Friday, May 1, 2020, Chief Administrative Patent Judge Scott R. Boalick of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) paused all activity in the significant number of PTAB cases remanded to it from the Federal Circuit under Arthrex (discussed here). 
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On May 5, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) designated one decision as precedential and removed the precedential designation on another. The newly-designated precedential opinion lays out factors that the PTAB considers when asked to exercise its discretion to deny institution in light of an imminent trial.
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Last week, the Federal Circuit, in a precedential decision, reinforced that an accused infringer can be a “prevailing party” for the purposes of seeking attorneys’ fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 when it successfully invalidates the asserted patent at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”). 
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Federal Circuit Finds IPRs Can Circumvent Assignor Estoppel

April 27, 2020 | Blog | By Daniel Weinger, Vincent Ferraro, Kara E. Grogan

On Wednesday, the Federal Circuit held that while assignor estoppel is applicable in district court proceedings, petitions for inter partes review continue to not be subject to the equitable remedy.  Assignor estoppel is an equitable doctrine based on the principle of fair dealing that prevents a party who divests a patent from later challenging the validity of that patent.
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SCOTUS holds that PTAB Time-Bar Determinations are Not Reviewable on Appeal

April 22, 2020 | Blog | By Michael Newman, Serge Subach, Rithika Kulathila

On Monday, in Thryv, Inc. v. Click-to-Cal Technologies, the Supreme Court held that § 315(b) time-bar determinations are not subject to judicial review. In this 7-2 decision penned by Justice Ginsburg, with Justices Gorsuch and Sotomayor dissenting, the Court determined that time-bar determinations are unreviewable because they are “closely tied” to the Director’s decision to institute an inter partes review (IPR).
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Informative Whirlpool Decision Reaffirms Importance of Secondary Considerations

April 21, 2020 | Blog | By Brad M Scheller, Courtney Herndon

Recently on April 14, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) designated Ex parte Whirlpool Corp., Appeal 2013-008232 (Oct. 30, 2013) “Informative”.  In Whirlpool, the Board reversed the Examiner’s obviousness rejection of claims 1, 4, 6, and 8 of U.S. Patent No. 6,082,130 (“the ’130 patent”), finding that the Patent Owner, Whirlpool Corporation, established a nexus between its objective evidence of non-obviousness and the claimed invention. 
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Last week, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) designated a January 24, 2020 decision, finding objective indicia of nonobviousness, such as evidence of long-felt need and industry praise, saved a patent owner’s amended claims from invalidation, as precedential.
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The Precedential Opinion Panel (“POP”) of the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) recently rejected a rehearing request from a petitioner where institution was denied because of the likelihood that a district court trial would occur prior to a final written decision. 
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On Thursday, the Federal Circuit ruled that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) must give the parties proper notice if considering a sua sponte theory of unpatentability in relation to a motion to amend.
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On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) designated two inter partes review (“IPR”) decisions as precedential and one as informative. These decisions concern PTAB’s discretion to deny institution of an IPR under 35 U.S.C. § 325(d) and 314(a). 
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An Informative PTAB Decision on Patent Eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101

January 30, 2020 | Blog | By Christina Sperry, Justin J. Leisey

The U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) recently designated its decision in Ex Parte HANNUN (Appeal 2018-003323) (“HANNUN”) as being informative regarding the application of the latest 2019 revised guidance on patent-eligible subject matter. 
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Relying on Outside Prior Art in an IPR – Not so fast!

December 10, 2019 | Blog | By Daniel Weinger, Serge Subach

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) has recently reminded the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the Board) that it may not rely on evidence and arguments that fall outside the scope of the instituted grounds during Inter Partes Review (IPR) proceedings. In re IPR Licensing, Inc., No. 2018-1805 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 22, 2019). 
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To amend challenged claims during an Inter Partes Review (IPR), the patent owner must show that the proposed amendment responds to a ground of unpatentability at issue in the IPR trial. 
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Judge Gilliam of the Northern District of California recently answered this question and provided helpful guidance on the interplay of IPRs, reexaminations and district court litigation. In IXI Mobile (R&D) Ltd., et al., v. Samsung Elec. Co. Ltd. and IXI Mobile (R&D) Ltd., et al. v. Apple Inc., Judge Gilliam denied plaintiffs’ (“IXI”) motion for leave to amend their infringement contentions and asserted claims because IXI was not diligent in identifying new contentions or new accused products.
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In a decision with potential far-reaching implications, Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., the Federal Circuit held Thursday that appointments of Administrative Patent Judges of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board violated the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
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USPTO Proposes New Rules for Amending Claims During AIA Reviews

October 25, 2019 | Blog | By Daniel Weinger, Vincent Ferraro

Earlier this week, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) proposed rule changes for amending patents in AIA proceedings.  The proposed rule changes would apply to inter partes review (“IPR”), post-grant review (“PGR”), and covered business method patent review (“CBM”) (collectively, “post-grant trial”) proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) to make explicit that a patent challenger bears the burden of persuasion regarding motions to amend filed during these proceedings.
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