Stuart Duncan Smith

Stuart Duncan Smith assists the firm in the areas of patent, trademark, trade secret, and copyright litigation.

Recent Posts

Sovereign Immunity Again Applied to IPR

Posted by Stuart Duncan Smith on Jul 20, 2017

Stuart Duncan Smith

For the third time, the Board applied sovereign immunity as a defense to IPR. In Reactive Surfaces Ltd. v. Toyota Motor Corporation (IPR2017-00572 & IPR2016-01914), the Board determined that a public university could raise the defense of sovereign immunity as a reason why it should not be subject to IPR. However, in Reactive Surfaces, the Board refused to dismiss the proceeding because it found that Toyota, a co-owner of the challenged patent that did not claim sovereign immunity, “would represent adequately the [university’s] interests.”

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Topics: Sovereign immunity

Sovereign Immunity Reigns in IPR Again

Posted by Stuart Duncan Smith on May 26, 2017

Stuart Duncan Smith

Earlier this week, the use of sovereign immunity as a defense to IPR took a major step forward. For only the second time, the PTAB dismissed an IPR against a state entity on the basis of sovereign immunity—another decision significant to public universities with many patents as well as those who would challenge those patents. This latest decision answers several questions about when the sovereign immunity defense is available to patent owners in IPR.

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Topics: Sovereign immunity

Patent Owners, Get Your Story Straight at the PTAB

Posted by Stuart Duncan Smith on May 17, 2017

Stuart Duncan Smith

Patent owners have long known that making consistent arguments during IPRs and in district court litigation is critical to preserve credibility. The Federal Circuit recently took that a step further by holding that patent owners can be prevented from making arguments in district court that contradict their arguments in an IPR. More so than ever, patent owners must watch what they say during an IPR.

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Topics: Patent Owners

Sovereign Immunity: Takeaways From the First Successful Defense

Posted by Stuart Duncan Smith on Apr 11, 2017

Stuart Duncan Smith

As previously discussed, we recently led the first successful defense against an IPR on the basis of sovereign immunity. Already, two other state universities are seeking dismissal of IPRs on that same basis: NeoChord v. University of Maryland (IPR2016-00208) and Reactive Surfaces v. Toyota (IPR2016-01914 & IPR2017-00572). As patent owners consider whether to assert the sovereign immunity defense to IPR, they should keep in mind several key lessons we found useful.

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Topics: Sovereign immunity

Sovereign Immunity: A Defense to IPR Fit for a Monarch

Posted by Stuart Duncan Smith on Apr 7, 2017

Stuart Duncan Smith

Wolf Greenfield recently opened a new frontier for public entities with patents challenged in IPR by securing dismissal of two IPRs on the basis of sovereign immunity. The decision, which is the first to apply sovereign immunity as a defense to IPR, is particularly significant to public universities with many patents—and those who would challenge those patents in IPR. Though questions remain unanswered, the decision is disrupting the practice of IPRs.

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Topics: Sovereign immunity

Appeal from IPR? Don’t Count on It

Posted by Stuart Duncan Smith on Feb 6, 2017

Stuart Duncan Smith

The Federal Circuit recently confirmed that challengers using IPR outside the typical context of ongoing litigation face a trap for the unwary: those that are not careful to lay the proper groundwork may not be able to appeal an adverse decision by the Board.

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CBM Review Standard Changes, ‘Complements’ of the Federal Circuit

Posted by Stuart Duncan Smith on Nov 23, 2016

Stuart Duncan Smith

Covered business method (CBM) review is a popular alternative to IPR, but is available only for patents related to financial activities. In Unwired Planet, LLC v. Google Inc., No. 2015-1812 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 21, 2016), the Federal Circuit held that the Board has been too generous in its definition of which patents can be subject to CBM review—allowing some only because they could be used in a way that relates to financial activities.

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Topics: CBMs

IPR Gets Its Day at the High Court

Posted by Stuart Duncan Smith on May 2, 2016

Stuart Duncan Smith

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Cuozzo Speed Technologies v. Lee. At issue in this appeal is the fundamental nature of IPR—is it an efficient means to cull bad patents that shouldn’t have been issued in the first place, or is it a cost-effective substitute for district court litigation? While we’ll have to wait until June for the final decision to learn the answer, the Justices’ questions highlight some of their concerns.

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Topics: Broadest Reasonable Interpretation Standard

PTO’s Request to Congress Could Make IPRs Even Less Friendly to Patent Owners

Posted by Stuart Duncan Smith on Jan 6, 2016

Stuart Duncan Smith

In the PTO’s recent report on the implementation of the 2011 America Invents Act, the law that created IPR proceedings, the PTO asked Congress to amend the statute to loosen the requirements to file a petition for IPR and to maintain an IPR proceeding.

Among the mechanisms that protect patent owners from misuse of IPR are requirements that limit when a petition for IPR may be filed and who may file it. In its recent report to Congress, the PTO recommended those requirements be loosened.

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Location, Location, Location: How Filing a Declaratory Judgment Action May Affect IPR

Posted by Stuart Duncan Smith on Jul 1, 2015

Stuart Duncan Smith

In patent litigation, forum matters. Whether because of the convenience of keeping the dispute nearby or the perceived benefits of litigating in a particular court, parties challenging allegations of infringement often secure a preferred forum with a declaratory judgment action, rather than waiting to be sued. But what effect does filing a declaratory judgment action have on the challenger’s ability to then request IPR? Several recent PTAB decisions offer some clarity.

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This blog is intended to promote thought and debate on developing areas of the law. The opinions, commentary and characterizations of cases provided on this blog are not legal advice and do not represent the opinions of Wolf Greenfield or its clients.