Uniloc 2017 v. Hulu: Federal Circuit Says PTAB’s Review of Substitute Claims Is Not Limited to Anticipation and Obviousness

Posted by Kevin Mosier on Aug 31, 2020

Kevin Mosier

Per the express language of 35 U.S.C. § 311, a petitioner in an IPR may request cancellation of a claim “only on a ground that could be raised under section 102 or 103.” In other words, an issued claim can only be canceled via IPR on the basis of anticipation or obviousness grounds. But once an IPR is instituted, can the PTAB also make eligibility determinations pursuant to section 101 and/or written description or enablement determinations pursuant to section 112? The answer is, in certain circumstances, “yes” according to the Federal Circuit in Uniloc 2017 v. Hulu, No. 2019-1686 (Fed. Cir. July 22, 2020).

In Uniloc 2017, the petitioners challenged the patent owner’s claims as anticipated and obvious. The patent owner defended the claims and also filed a contingent motion to amend requesting that, in the event certain claims were found unpatentable, the PTAB issue substitute claims pursuant to section 316(d). The petitioners opposed the motion to amend, arguing that the proposed substitute claims were directed to patent ineligible subject matter.

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Topics: Obviousness, "Federal Circuit", IPR, PTAB, Anticipation

COVID-19 Changes How Some Courts Consider Motions to Stay Pending IPR

Posted by Marie McKiernan on Jun 8, 2020

Marie McKiernan

(Co-authored by Stuart Duncan Smith)

This blog post is part of Wolf Greenfield's COVID-19 Resource Center. To access the full resource center, click here.

A stay is an important mechanism for many defendants to consider when filing an IPR. Due to the ongoing pandemic, courts have had to shift resources to address COVID-19-related concerns. In some instances, that is changing how courts evaluate motions to stay pending IPR.

Courts often consider three factors when determining whether to grant a stay pending IPR of a patent. These factors include:

  1. The stage of the proceedings
  2. Whether the stay will simplify the case before the court
  3. Whether a stay would result in undue prejudice to the nonmoving party
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Topics: IPR, COVID-19, coronavirus

The Supreme Court Says the PTAB, Not the Federal Circuit, Gets to Say Whether an IPR is Outside the One-Year Time Bar

Posted by Susmita Gadre on May 7, 2020

Susmita Gadre

(Co-authored by Stuart Duncan Smith)

Last week, the Supreme Court released its opinion in Thryv, Inc. v. Click-to-Call. This case, as we previously reviewed, concerns whether the PTAB’s application of the one-year statutory time bar for an IPR is appealable. The Patent Statute says that the PTAB’s decision to institute an IPR is “final and nonappealable,” but the Federal Circuit interpreted that bar on judicial review narrowly and found it inapplicable to the question of whether the one-year statutory time bar applied. Oral arguments suggested that the Court would likely be divided. Ultimately, the court was split 7-2, with the majority holding that the time bar was not an appealable issue.

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Topics: "Federal Circuit", IPR, PTAB

Supreme Court Oral Argument Review: The Justices Appear Split in Thryv v. Click-to-Call

Posted by Susmita Gadre on Jan 2, 2020

Susmita Gadre

(Co-authored by Stuart Duncan Smith)

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Thryv v. Click-to-Call Technologies last month. As we previously discussed, the case concerns whether the PTAB’s finding that a petition for IPR was timely filed is reviewable on appeal. If the Justices’ questions at oral arguments are any indication, a split decision is likely.

At issue in the case is Section 314(d) of the Patent Act, which bars appeal of the PTAB’s decision “to institute an inter partes review under this section.” The Justices must decide whether that statute applies to, and thus bars appeal of, the PTAB’s finding that the petitioner timely filed the petition before the end of Section 315(b)’s one-year window.

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Topics: "Federal Circuit", IPR, PTAB

The Federal Circuit Provides a Roadmap for Using Articles in IPR

Posted by Turhan Sarwar on Dec 20, 2019

Turhan Sarwar

(Co-authored by Stuart Duncan Smith)

Too often some challenger in IPR declines to use non-patent literature (or “NPL”), such as academic and trade journal articles, because of the effort and risk associated with establishing that the NPL is prior art. The Federal Circuit’s recent decision in Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson V. TCL Corp. (No. 17-2381) illustrates why that strategy can be a mistake and provides guidance on how to use NPL effectively.

As we have discussed, the PTAB often imposes specific requirements for establishing that an NPL reference is a prior art printed publication. Unlike with patent prior art, where challengers can ordinarily rely on the dates on the document itself, challengers typically have to introduce evidence that NPL was publicly accessible early enough to make it prior art. Getting that evidence can be challenging, which is why some challengers shy away from using NPL at all.

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Topics: "Federal Circuit", IPR, PTAB, NPL, Non-Patent Literature

Can Amendment Save Your Claims in IPR?

Posted by Elizabeth Hudson on Dec 9, 2019

Elizabeth Hudson

(Co-authored by Stuart Duncan Smith)

In the past, moving to amend the challenged claims during IPR was largely futile. The PTAB denied nearly all motions to amend, and many patent owners that might have benefited from amendment chose not to pursue it. But the rules concerning amendment in IPR are changing, and the number and success rate of motions to amend are ticking up. Patent owners have new reasons to think that amendment might save their patents from IPR.

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Topics: IPR, PTAB, POP, USPTO

Continued Uncertainty About Estoppel Highlights the Importance of Preparing Carefully

Posted by Anant Saraswat on Nov 19, 2019

Anant Saraswat

Challengers in post-grant proceedings like IPR may not reassert invalidity arguments in court that they “raised or reasonably could have raised” before the PTAB. Several recent cases illustrate that whether a particular invalidity argument “reasonably could have [been] raised” is a fact-intensive question that the parties must be prepared to address. These cases also show that both patent owners and challengers should develop a factual record relating to whether estoppel applies to a given invalidity theory.

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Topics: Patent Owners, IPR, PTAB

IPR Estoppel May Apply to Product-Based Defenses

Posted by Anant Saraswat on Sep 4, 2019

Anant Saraswat

Under the estoppel provisions of 35 U.S.C. § 315(e), if an IPR results in a final written decision, the petitioner is barred from raising invalidity arguments in court or the ITC based on any grounds the petitioner “raised or reasonably could have raised” in the IPR, which may in practice mean any grounds based on patents or printed publications. Thus, petitioners involved in parallel litigation sometimes assert backup invalidity defenses based on prior art products. Two recent cases demonstrate that while such defenses can avoid estoppel, courts may reject perceived attempts to dodge estoppel by simply repackaging a publication-based ground as a product-based ground.

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Topics: IPR Estoppel, ITC, IPR

Federal Circuit Declines to Take Up Winning-Petitioner Estoppel

Posted by Scott Forman on Aug 5, 2019

Scott Forman

The Federal Circuit recently declined to consider whether a successful IPR petitioner is estopped from making its winning invalidity arguments in district court. If a winning petitioner does face estoppel, its arguments may be limited to those which could not have been brought through IPR when parallel litigation on the same patent proceeds pending rehearing or appeal of the IPR decision. This view of estoppel would shake up the carefully choreographed interplay between district court litigation and FDA approval of a generic manufacturer’s ANDA envisioned by the Hatch-Waxman Act. However, in BTG International Ltd. v. Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC, the court found the issue moot after upholding the PTAB’s decision finding the challenged claims obvious.

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Topics: Petitioners, IPR

In Follow-On IPR Petitions, Different Prior Art May Not Be Considered Substantially Different

Posted by Lingyin Ge on Jun 18, 2019

Lingyin Ge

An IPR follow-on petitioner may find it particularly challenging to select the best prior art references and arguments to submit to the PTAB. To make matters worse, the PTAB may decide to invoke its discretionary denial under 35 U.S.C. § 325(d) if it considers the prior art and/or arguments submitted in the follow-on petition to be the same or substantially the same as those considered during prosecution, in parallel proceedings, or in an earlier-filed IPR petition, even if the follow-on petition is filed by a different entity.

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Topics: Prior Art, IPR

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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.