Did I Say That? The Narrow Divide Between § 102 and § 112 Arguments

Posted by Jessica von Reyn on May 17, 2019

Jessica von Reyn

While a line of argument in an IPR may seem promising to a patent owner addressing one particular ground of rejection, it is critical for the patent owner to analyze how the argument may impact other grounds of rejections. A seemingly necessary position against one ground may result in substantially limited options for the patent owner with respect to other rejections. While IPR proceedings are limited by statute to prior art challenges (novelty and obviousness), contingent amendments (substitute claims) are also subject to further analysis (such as scope and written description support). In a recent decision, the PTAB rejected a patent owner’s §§ 102 and 103 arguments relating to substitute claims, and then proceeded to perform an alternative analysis under § 112 (written description), finding that the outcome would not change, in part, because of the patent owner’s own § 102 argument.

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Topics: IPR, PTAB

Isn’t it Obvious to Optimize for Better Results?

Posted by Josh Brandt on Apr 23, 2019

Josh Brandt

Just because your issued patent was examined by the USPTO does not mean that it is free from challenge. Your competitors may, of course, scrutinize your patent and use IPR to challenge its validity—potentially turning your patent shield into a roadmap to their next product. This was the case in a recent IPR.

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Topics: Patent Owners, IPR, PTAB

To Prove a Printed Publication, Petitioners Should Connect All the Dots

Posted by Michael Greene on Apr 11, 2019

Michael Greene

You found a great prior art reference for your IPR petition. But if that reference isn’t a patent or patent application, you’ll need to think carefully about how to prove that the reference was actually published and available to the interested public. As the PTAB has reminded litigants time and time again, failing to connect all the dots from the author’s creation of the reference all the way to its availability to the interested public might doom the petition.

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Topics: Printed Publications

The Patent Office POPs the Door Open for Same-Party Joinder

Posted by Kevin Mosier on Apr 1, 2019

Kevin Mosier

In September 2018, the Patent Office created the Precedential Opinion Panel (or “POP”) to increase transparency and predictability of proceedings before the PTAB by establishing precedent that would guide all PTAB judges. In March 2019, the POP released its first opinion, which held that the PTAB may, in limited circumstances, join both a petitioner to a proceeding in which it is already a party and join new issues to an existing proceeding.

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Topics: PTAB, POP, Precedential Opinion Panel

Lack of Redundancy May Not Be Enough to Justify Follow-On Petitions for IPR

Posted by Libbie DiMarco on Feb 22, 2019

Libbie DiMarco

In the 2017 precedential decision General Plastic Co. v. Canon Kabushiki Kaisha, the PTAB established a set of seven non-exclusive factors  that it will consider in exercising its discretion under 35 U.S.C. § 314(a) to deny follow-on petitions. Two recent PTAB decisions analyzing General Plastic suggest a lack of redundancy between the petitions may not be enough to justify instituting a follow-on petition.  Instead, a primary consideration guiding the PTAB may be whether the petitioner could have raised the arguments in an earlier-filed petition.

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Topics: IPR, PTAB

Petitioner Beware: Inconsistent Claim Construction Positions Can Doom a Petition

Posted by Nathan Speed on Feb 20, 2019

Nathan Speed

While the Board recognizes that its rules do not require petitioners to take “positions consistent with related cases in different fora,” a recent IPR decision illustrates the risks a petitioner faces when it advances claim construction positions before the Board that are inconsistent with its positions in related district court proceedings.

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Topics: IPR, PTAB

Be Careful What You Wish For Post-SAS

Posted by Anant Saraswat on Feb 12, 2019

Anant Saraswat

In the wake of SAS Institute v. Iancu, the PTAB has sometimes expanded pending IPRs to include previously un-instituted grounds. But can the PTAB rely on SAS to retroactively deny institution? A recent decision says yes, in at least some circumstances. And while the facts of this case are unusual, it nevertheless demonstrates that petitioners should be cautious when relying on SAS to try to induce the PTAB to reconsider grounds that it didn’t originally find persuasive.

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Topics: PTAB, Post-Sas

All or Nothing: PTAB Must Institute IPR on All Challenged Claims and Grounds, or None at All

Posted by Kevin Mosier on Jan 29, 2019

Kevin Mosier

This past year, the Supreme Court in SAS Institute v. Iancu held that once the PTAB institutes an IPR trial its subsequent final written decision must address all claims challenged in the petition. The Court explained that its holding was compelled by a plain reading of 35 U.S.C. § 318(a), which states that the PTAB must issue a final written decision on “any patent claim challenged by the petitioner.” SAS Institute did not decide, however, whether the PTAB’s final written decisions must also address all grounds raised in a petition. The Federal Circuit has subsequently provided a clearer answer.

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Topics: Patent Owners, IPR, PTAB

Motions to Amend: The Board Invites Alice to the IPR Party

Posted by Nathan Speed on Jan 25, 2019

Nathan Speed

One strategy that a patent owner can pursue in an IPR trial is to file a motion to amend seeking to replace one or more of the challenged claims with substitute claims that neither enlarge the scope of the claims nor introduce new subject matter. When a patent owner files such a motion, the petitioner is permitted to oppose the motion and argue why the substitute claims are not patentable. In a recent decision, the Board reaffirmed that the grounds available for a petitioner to attack the patentability of substitute claims are not limited to anticipation or obviousness, but rather can include other sections under the Patent Statute, including § 101.

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Topics: Petitioners, IPR, patent

Non-Prior Art Evidence of the Prior Art? The Federal Circuit Says It May be Okay

Posted by Stuart Duncan Smith on Oct 29, 2018

Stuart Duncan Smith

Section 311(b) of the American Invents Act (“AIA”) provides that a petitioner may request cancellation of one or more claims of a patent “only on a ground that could be raised under section 102 and 103 and only on the basis of prior art consisting of patents or printed publications.” In light of this clear restriction on the evidence that can lead to the cancellation of a claim, one might reasonably assume that all of the petitioner’s evidence during that trial must be prior art. A recent decision from the Federal Circuit, however, shows that this assumption is not entirely correct. Rather, in some situations, the cancellation of a claim may turn on evidence that is not even prior art to the claim.

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Topics: Patent Owners

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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.