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05.13.18

The Supreme Court’s SAS Decision and the Race/Campaign to Undermine PTAB With Iancu’s Help

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 11:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: The Patent Trolls’ Lobby (IAM) Already Pressures Andrei Iancu, Inciting a USPTO Director Against PTAB

Speed Bump

Summary: As one might expect, people who profit from patent litigation are trying to stop or at least curtail/slow down the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), whose primary function is preventing frivolous patent lawsuits by annulling improperly-granted patents (typically those that are actively being used to issue spurious threats)

AS the previous post noted, Oil States is being forgotten about and it’s no accident. It’s intentional. The general idea is to leave behind anything which legitimises PTAB and instead promote anti-PTAB clauses and cases. The USPTO seems cooperative with the latter agenda, especially with Iancu in charge. Add to all this a front group (BIO) or two and it doesn’t look particularly encouraging. The PTAB-hostile BIO had an “International Convention” advertised 24 hours ago. Guess what’s on the agenda… there’s also this upcoming ‘webinar’ on divided infringement, advertised 24 hours ago as well.

“Lawyers can ‘clock’ more time (time is money, billing) and PTAB won’t manage to deal with as many petitions.”Yesterday we wrote about pharmaceutical patent lawsuits soaring in Delaware and days ago we found this new report, which is titled “Delaware District Dismisses BPCIA ‘Private Right’ Claim; Says Controversy Not Sufficiently Immediate” (neither private nor a right, just like patents). As we shall recall in our next post, pharmaceutical patent litigants nowadays go extremely far to challenge courts or tribunals — to the point of resorting to “scams”. Things have gotten really dirty. In Promptu Systems Corporation v Comcast Corporation et al, as Docket Navigator noted the other day, the “Plaintiff’s Former Officer and Lead Inventor Disqualified as Consultant for Defendant” (conflict of interest is clear here). To quote:

The court granted plaintiff’s motion to disqualify plaintiff’s former officer/lead inventor of the patents-in-suit from consulting with defendant on non-confidential matters.

Anyway, it’s getting hard to challenge PTAB or win patent cases in US courts. That’s mostly because so many US-granted patents should never have been granted in the first place. The tactics among the litigation industry nowadays revolve around smearing PTAB and, as we noted yesterday, smearing the high courts as well. Again, this is really, really dirty.

An article by David M. Maiorana (Jones Day) recently (last week) recalled the SAS case and said this:

On April 24, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in SAS Institute Inc. v. Iancu, where the Court held that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) must issue a final written decision as to any patent claim challenged by an IPR petitioner. Just two days later, the PTAB issued written guidance on the impact of the SAS decisions on AIA trial proceedings.

[...]

The SAS decision has rapidly changed practice before the PTAB. Practitioners must closely watch for future changes. The guidance notes that the PTAB will continue to assess the impact of the SAS decision and will provide further guidance in the future if appropriate. Jones Day will continue to monitor the situation and will provide further updates in this blog.

What about Oil States? It was by far more important a decision. As a reminder, the patent microcosm tries very hard to distract from it. See our previous posts on this matter:

Also obsessing over SAS were the patent maximalists of Patently-O, who have been trying to slow PTAB down for well over a year and nowadays promote Droplets v Iancu. The agenda is very clear to see. To quote Dennis Crouch’s latest:

Although non-precedential, Valmont Indus. v. Lindsay Corp (Fed. Cir. 2018) appears to be the first post-SAS Federal Circuit opinion involving a partially-initiated inter partes review (IPR) proceeding.

In its IPR petition, Lindsay challenged all 18 claims of Valmont’s U.S. Patent No. 7,003,357. The PTAB instituted, but only to claims 1-15 and 17-18 — the case against Claim 16 was not strong enough. In its final decision, the PTAB found the claims obvious except for claim 11 and, of course claim 16 (whose validity was not tried).

So PTAB reached the same conclusion, albeit more slowly. The patent microcosm is just trying to make life harder for PTAB. Iancu seems rather friendly towards this agenda. Lawyers can ‘clock’ more time (time is money, billing) and PTAB won’t manage to deal with as many petitions (IPRs).

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