Federal Circuit Affirms PTAB’s Decision Related To Estoppel Over IPR Joined Parties And Obviousness
On March 9, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) issued an opinion affirming estoppel and obviousness rulings by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”). Uniloc 2017 LLC v. Facebook Inc., ___ F.3d ___ (Fed. Cir. March 9, 2021). The CAFC ruled that it had jurisdiction to review the PTAB’s decision as to estoppel related to the inter partes review (“IPR”) estoppel provision of Section 315(e)(1). The CAFC further ruled that a joined party to a first IPR was not barred from maintaining review of claims that the primary challenger became estopped from challenging based on a decision in a second IPR to which the challenger was joined.
PTAB Denies IPR Institution Due To Co-Pending ITC Investigation
On November 18, 2020, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) denied institution of a petition for inter partes review (IPR). Google LLC v. EcoFactor Inc., case no. IPR2020-00946 (PTAB Nov. 18, 2020). In its decision, the PTAB exercised its discretion under 35 U.S.C. § 314(a) to deny institution because of a co-pending investigation before the International Trade Commission (ITC) involving the challenged patent.
PTAB Institutes IPR Over Patent Owner’s Section 325(d) Argument That The Same Art And Arguments Were Already Considered By The Patent Office
On October 6, 2020, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding, rejecting Patent Owner’s argument that the PTAB should exercise its discretion under 35 U.S.C. § 325(d) to deny institution because the same prior art and arguments were before the Patent Office Examiner during original prosecution. Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC v. Bot M8, LLC, Case No. IPR2020-00726 (PTAB Oct. 6, 2020). In doing so, the PTAB agreed with Petitioner that the Examiner overlooked a reference’s teaching.
PTAB Institutes IPR, Despite Primary References Having Been Considered During Original Patent Prosecution
On May 22, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a decision instituting inter partes review (“IPR”) over Patent Owner’s argument that the PTAB should exercise its discretion to deny institution because the IPR petition relied on several references that were considered by the patent examiner during prosecution of the application leading to the patent-at-issue. Medacta USA, Inc. v. RSB Spine, LLC, IPR Case No. 2020-00264, Paper 24 (PTAB May 22, 2020). The PTAB found that the examiner “erred in a manner material to the patentability of the challenged claims” by overlooking certain aspects of the prior art references.
Supreme Court Holds PTAB Time-Bar Decision Is Not Appealable
On April 20, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States issued an opinion holding that an inter partes review (“IPR”) institution decision by the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial & Appeal Board (“PTAB”) on the impact of a dismissal-without-prejudice of a district court complaint on 35 U.S.C. § 315(b)’s one-year time-bar limitation to file an IPR is not appealable. Thryv, Inc. v. Click-to-Call Techs., LP, No. 18-916, 590 U.S. ____ (2020). According to the Court, 35 U.S.C. § 314(d)’s prohibition on appeal of IPR institution decisions and the Court’s decision in Cuozzo Speed Techs., LLC v. Lee, 136 S.Ct. 2131, 579 U.S. ___ (2016) were determinative.
PTAB Denies Customer’s “Follow-On” IPR Petition Based On Supplier’s Prior Petition
On October 3, 2019, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a Decision Denying Institution of Inter Partes Review (IPR) under 35 U.S.C. § 314(a). PayPal, Inc. v. IOENGINE LLC, IPR Case No. IPR2019-00884, Paper 22 (PTAB Oct. 3, 2019). The PTAB exercised its statutorily-authorized discretion to deny institution based primarily on a customer-supplier relationship between the instant petitioner and a prior petitioner.
PTAB Designates Precedential Two Opinions Regarding IPR Time Bar And Pre-Institution Disclaimer
On September 9, 2019, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office designated two decisions as precedential. Infiltrator Water Technologies, LLC v. Presby Patent Trust, IPR Case No. IPR2018-000224, Paper 18 (PTAB Oct. 1, 2018) (designated: Sept. 9, 2019); General Electric Company v. United Technologies Corporation, IPR Case No. IPR2017-00491, Paper 9 (PTAB July 6, 2017) (designated: Sept. 9, 2019). In Infiltrator Water, the PTAB held that a dismissal of a complaint without prejudice for lack of personal jurisdiction does not reset the one-year time bar for a petitioner to file a petition for inter partes review. In General Electric, the PTAB denied institution where the patent owner disclaimed the challenged claims.
PTAB Designates Precedential Two Additional Opinions Regarding Discretionary Denials Of IPR Institution Under Sections 314(a) And 325(d)
On August 2, 2019, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office designated as precedential two Decisions on Institution. Valve Corp. v. Elecs. Scripts Prods. Inc., IPR Case Nos. IPR2019-00064, -00065, -00085, Paper 10 (PTAB May 1, 2019) (designated: Aug. 2, 2019); Becton, Dickinson & Co. v. B Braun Melsungen AG, Case No. IPR2017-01586, Paper 8 (PTAB Dec. 15, 2017) (designated: Aug. 2, 2019). In Valve, the PTAB held that General Plastic factor 1—concerning discretionary denials under 35 U.S.C. § 314(a) for “follow-on” petitions—applied to a joined petitioner. In Becton, Dickinson, the PTAB delineated a list of factors to consider when determining whether to exercise its discretion to deny a petition under 35 U.S.C. § 325(d) where “the same or substantially the same prior art or arguments previously were presented to the Board.”
PTAB Goes “Deeper,” Offering Further Guidance On Its Post-SAS Practice
On April 5, 2019, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) at the United States Patent and Trademark Office designated as “Informative” two prior decisions relating to the PTAB’s discretion about whether to institute inter partes review (“IPR”) proceedings for trial. In each, the PTAB exercised its discretion to deny institution of an IPR proceeding, even though the Petitioner demonstrated a reasonable likelihood of prevailing on some claims.
PTAB Designates Precedential Opinion Allowing Section 101 Consideration Of Proposed Amended Claims
On March 18, 2019, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office designated as precedential a Decision on Patent Owner’s Request for Rehearing. Amazon.com, Inc. v. Uniloc Luxembourg S.A., IPR Case No. IPR2017-00948 (PTAB Jan. 18, 2019). The PTAB held that, while a Petitioner may only challenge patent claims in an inter partes review based on prior art patents and publications under 35 U.S.C. §§ 102 and 103, it is nonetheless proper to consider patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 for any proposed substitute claims.
United States District Court For The Eastern District Of New York Finds Patent Defendant Estopped From Asserting Invalidity Grounds That Defendant Did Not Include In Its Petition For Inter Partes Review
On Wednesday, January 30, 2019, Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York denied the request of defendant Presidio Components, Inc., (the “Company”) to supplement its invalidity contentions. American Technical Ceramics Corp. et al. v. Presidio Components, Inc., Case No. 14-cv-6544 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 30, 2019). Judge Matsumoto determined that the Company was statutorily estopped from raising invalidity grounds that it did not include in its petition for inter partes review (“IPR”) to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), and, thus barred the Company from supplementing its invalidity contentions in the subsequent district court proceeding.
Patent Trial And Appeal Board Exercises Discretion To Deny Institution Of An IPR Based On Insufficient Use Of Resources Where Petitioner Had Shown A Reasonable Likelihood Of Prevailing On Only A Small Fraction Of Challenged Claims And Grounds
On Thursday, January 24, 2019, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a decision exercising its statutorily authorized discretion to deny institution of a petition for inter partes review (IPR). Deeper, UAB v. Vexilar, Inc., IPR Case No. 2018-01310 (PTAB Jan. 24, 2019). The PTAB determined that instituting IPR would be an inefficient use of the PTAB’s finite resources because the petitioner had shown a reasonable likelihood of prevailing on its invalidity challenges with respect to only two of the twenty-three challenged claims as to one of the four grounds.
Federal Circuit Affirms Patent Trial And Appeal Board Reconsideration Ruling That Claims Are Unpatentable On Non-Instituted Ground Not Addressed In Final Written Decision
On January 9, 2019, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued an opinion affirming a decision on reconsideration by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that held challenged claims to be unpatentable on a non-instituted ground that was not addressed by the PTAB in its final written decision. AG Technologies S.A. v. Amazon.com Inc., —F.3d—, (Fed. Cir. Jan. 9, 2019). The CAFC ruled that the PTAB had not exceeded its statutory authority or deprived the patent owner of fair process by belatedly considering the additional ground.
Federal Circuit Affirms PTAB Finding That Article Is Not A “Printed Publication”
On November 6, 2018, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued an opinion affirming a final written decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) finding the patent claims that had been challenged by inter partes review (IPR) to be not unpatentable. Acceleration Bay, LLC v. Activision Blizzard Inc., —F.3d—, (Fed. Cir. November 6, 2018). The CAFC ruled that the patent challenger had not proved that an article available on the Internet before the critical date was a “printed publication,” and that the article therefore was not available as prior art.
Patent Trial And Appeal Board Announces IPR Remand Procedures
On November 17, 2017, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”)—the division of the United States Patent and Trademark Office that handles inter-partes review proceedings—announced new internal operating procedures that will govern how the Board will handle inter partes review proceedings that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit remands to the Board after appeal. See P.T.A.B. Standard Operating Procedure (“SOP”) 9