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IPRs & Other Post Grant Proceedings

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Building on Tip #4, one effective way to avoid institution and not address facts is to point out shortcomings in the petition’s application of KSR when asserting motivation to combine for an obviousness analysis. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) is an administrative tribunal that frequently encounters proposed grounds that challenged claims are obvious pursuant to 35 U.S.C. ¶103.
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Tip #4 for Avoiding IPR Institution: Don’t Argue Facts

November 9, 2020 | Blog | By Brad M Scheller, Serge Subach

We’ve previously written that the best defense to an IPR challenge is avoiding IPR institution altogether. In addition to the other tips discussed in this series of posts, another strategy for avoiding institution is focusing the Patent Owner’s Preliminary Response (“POPR”) on areas where the Petitioner failed to adequately support its argument.
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Tip #3 for Avoiding IPR Institution: Use Disclaimers Strategically

November 5, 2020 | Blog | By William Meunier, Peter Cuomo

Under U.S. patent law, “No inter partes review will be instituted based on disclaimed claims.”  37 C.F.R.  § 42.107(e).  And petitioners only need to demonstrate a reasonable likelihood of prevailing with respect to one challenged claim in order to secure a favorable institution from the PTAB. 35 U.S.C. § 314.  
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If you are a patent owner facing an inter partes review (“IPR”) or other post-grant review at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”), your best chance of success is to convince the PTAB not to institute a trial.  But that does not mean that you should pack all of your substantive arguments about patentability into your preliminary response.
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Tip #1 for Avoiding IPR Institution: Litigation Venue Selection

October 29, 2020 | Blog | By Daniel Weinger, Michael Newman, Peter Cuomo

Venue selection is a critical component to any patent enforcement strategy, even before the inception of the PTAB as we know it today.  Venue now has even greater importance, as the speed of your patent case (i.e. time to trial) and stay statistics will have a direct impact on whether IPRs against your patents will institute in light of the Fintiv factors.
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Avoiding IPR Institution: Your Best Defense to an IPR Challenge

October 27, 2020 | Blog | By Peter Cuomo, William Meunier, Brad M Scheller

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) was once famously referred to by the former chief judge of the Federal Circuit, the honorable Randall Rader, as a patent death squad.
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Fate of PTAB Judges and Decisions Now in Hands of Supreme Court

October 15, 2020 | Blog | By Michael Renaud, William Meunier, Monique Winters Macek

On October 13, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court granted three petitions for writ of certiorari related to Arthrex v. Smith & Nephew addressing two issues that will determine the fate of PTAB judges and decisions.
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Federal Circuit Reminds PTAB That Short Cuts Are Not Allowed

August 11, 2020 | Blog | By Brad M Scheller

Last month, in a precedential decision, the Federal Circuit vacated-in-part and remanded the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (“Board”) obviousness determination regarding Alacritech’s computer networking patent because the Board failed to adequately explain its findings for three of the challenged claims.
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Yesterday we discussed the Federal Circuit’s decision in Uniloc 2017 LLC v. Hulu, LLC  confirming the Board’s authority to review contingent substitute claims after the original claims have been held invalid by a federal court.  Today we cover the panel’s ruling that the Board can use any patentability requirement to evaluate and reject proposed substitute claims in an IPR, notwithstanding that originally-petitioned claims in such proceedings can only be challenged under §§ 102 and 103 based on prior patents and printed publications.
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Last week a Federal Circuit panel in Uniloc 2017 LLC v. Hulu, LLC issued an important decision regarding inter partes review (IPR) before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board on two questions concerning contingent motions to amend—(i) whether the Office has statutory authority to review the patentability of substitute claims after a final federal-court judgement of invalidity of those claims and, if yes, (ii) whether that review of patentability may include analyzing the substitute claims for patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. 
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IPR and Fast-Moving District Court Litigation: PTAB Formalizes the Analysis for Balancing Efficiency and Fairness

July 17, 2020 | Blog | By Michael Renaud, Daniel Weinger, Adam Rizk, Serge Subach

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) has designated two key institution decisions as “Informative.”  With these informative decisions, the PTAB has provided guidance on how the PTAB will apply efficiency and fairness factors that guide decisions to institute an inter partes review (“IPR”) when there is a fast-moving parallel district court litigation that may reach trial before the PTAB’s final written decision would be due.
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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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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, 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, 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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