The One-Year Time Bar Strikes Again

Posted by Stuart Duncan Smith on Apr 8, 2021

Stuart Duncan Smith

The time bar in Section 315(b) says that IPR may not be instituted if the petition was filed more than one year after the petitioner was “served with a complaint alleging infringement of the patent.” A recent PTAB decision illustrates that petitioners should be wary of stepping over that line, even if there is a dispute about the patent owner’s proof of service.

Read More

Topics: Petitioners, Patent Owners, "Federal Circuit", IPR, PTAB

Pitfalls When Seeking Judicial Review of IPR Decisions: Alternatives to Appeal (Part 3 of 3)

Posted by Stuart Duncan Smith on Dec 21, 2020

Stuart Duncan Smith

Although judicial review of decisions during IPR typically occurs through appeal after the PTAB’s Final Written Decision, a growing number of cases are exploring other means of judicial review. Questions remain about whether those other means can provide a way to overcome the statutory limits on the appealability of IPR decisions, which we previously discussed. This post, which is the third in a series about judicial review of IPR, addresses a third trap for the unwary: the availability of alternatives to appeal.

Mandamus: Perhaps the most well-known alternative to appeal from and IPR is petitioning for a writ of mandamus. Ever since the Supreme Court’s first decision on IPRs, Cuozzo v. Lee, 136 S. Ct. 2131 (2016), left open the possibility of judicial review of constitutional and statutory rights related to institution, some have speculated that mandamus may be the best route to present those arguments. Indeed, the Supreme Court’s most recent decision on IPRs, Thryv v. Click-To-Call, 140 S. Ct. 1367 (2020), declined to foreclose the use of mandamus in “extraordinary cases.”

Read More

Topics: "Federal Circuit", IPR, PTAB, SCOTUS, Supreme Court

Pitfalls When Seeking Judicial Review of IPR Decisions: Scope of the Appeal (Part 2 of 3)

Posted by Stuart Duncan Smith on Dec 16, 2020

Stuart Duncan Smith

A series of Supreme Court cases has clarified that not all issues that arise in IPR are appealable. Thus, in addition to considering the issue of standing, which we previously discussed, a party considering appeal must also determine whether the issue it would want review can even be appealed. This post, which is the second in a series about judicial review of IPR, addresses a second trap for the unwary: the limited scope of permitted appeal.

Section 314(d) prohibits appeal of the PTAB’s decision “whether to institute [IPR] under this section.” Some interpreted that as limiting appeal only of the Institution Decision’s determination under Section 314(a) that the petition’s unpatentability arguments are sufficiently strong to deserve institution. The Supreme Court rejected that interpretation in Cuozzo v. Lee, 136 S. Ct. 2131 (2016), applying the appeal bar to the related determination under a different section that the petition was written with sufficient “particularity.”

Read More

Topics: "Federal Circuit", IPR, PTAB, SCOTUS, Supreme Court

The Rising Tide of Discretionary Denial at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board

Posted by Stuart Duncan Smith on Dec 14, 2020

Stuart Duncan Smith

(Co-authored by Elisabeth Hunt)

In the time since the America Invents Act (AIA) created the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), inter partes review (IPR) and other PTAB proceedings for challenging patents’ validity have proven to be powerful tools for those accused of infringement. But increasingly, the PTAB’s exercise of its discretion to deny institution of review for non–merits-based reasons has become a powerful counter-defense for patent owners. Although discretionary denial has been a feature of PTAB proceedings since their inception, the range of circumstances in which the PTAB discretionarily denies institution and the frequency with which it does so are increasing. Discretionary denial has thus become a disputed issue in an increasingly large proportion of PTAB proceedings.

Read More

Topics: IPR, PTAB, AIA, Discretionary Denial

Pitfalls When Seeking Judicial Review of IPR Decisions: Standing to Appeal (Part 1 of 3)

Posted by Stuart Duncan Smith on Dec 10, 2020

Stuart Duncan Smith

Seeking judicial review of an IPR decision can be a trap for the unwary. Section 319 permits a “dissatisfied” party to appeal. And while the language may seem simple, it can lead parties astray. This post, which is the first in a series about judicial review of IPR, addresses the first trap for the unwary: the constitutional requirement of standing.

Although Section 319 might be misread to allow any “dissatisfied” party to appeal, the party must still have standing to appeal. Thus, in Droplets v. E*TRADE, 887 F.3d 1309 (Fed. Cir. 2018), the Federal Circuit held that a petitioner that won but was “dissatisfied” with the PTAB’s reasoning still could not appeal. And in SkyHawke v. Deca, 828 F.3d 1373 (Fed. Cir. 2016), a potentially analogous decision concerning reexamination, the court rejected an appeal by a winning patent owner that wanted a different claim construction.

Read More

Topics: "Federal Circuit", IPR, PTAB, Section 319

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.

Read More

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
Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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

Wolf Greenfield's Post-Grant Blog

Here, the Post-Grant Proceedings Group
at Wolf Greenfield keeps you up to date
on the latest decisions and best practices, and what they mean for you. Learn more about the group and its members.

New Call-to-action
New Call-to-action
New Call-to-action

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Follow Us

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.