12.13.18

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Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Decisions Still Uncontroversial Unless One Asks the Patent Maximalists

Posted in America, Patents at 3:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…As Andrei Iancu does

Andrei IancuSummary: Contrary to what the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (on the left) has claimed, PTAB is liked by companies that actually create things and opposition to PTAB comes from power brokers of the Koch brothers, law firms, and trolls (including those who foolishly repeat them)

“On December 12, 2018,” Mr. Jain wrote on the same day (yesterday), “Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 6,697,730, owned and asserted by RideApp, Inc., an NPE. The ‘730 patent, directed to a transit system based on cellular communication, GPS locating technology, and digital computers, has been asserted in district court litigation against Lyft and Juno.”

IPRs filed at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) are very powerful means by which to invalidate software patents, usually by citing 35 U.S.C. § 101. Appeals to the Federal Circuit then put growing pressure on the USPTO to no longer grant such patents. RideApp, the patent troll, might soon have nothing at all. It’s not a business, it’s a litigation pipeline that might soon have no patents left.

It’s not difficult to see who opposes PTAB and why. Consider what happened earlier this year in Oil States (SCOTUS). We must express disappointment at Camilla Alexandra Hrdy, who has just ignorantly promoted Koch-funded lies (‘scholars’ funded by Big Oil) that call patents “rights” (that's a lie). The misleading term ‘Public Rights’ is even used in her title and perhaps she fails to realise that the person she’s boosting has put these words in Gorsuch's mouth (and even bragged about it in public). Here is what she said:

I greatly enjoyed Professor Adam Mossoff’s new article, Statutes, Common-Law Rights, and the Mistaken Classification of Patents as Public Rights, forthcoming in the Iowa Law Review. Mossoff’s article is written in the wake of Oil States Energy Services v. Green’s Energy Group, where the Supreme Court held it is not unconstitutional for the Patent Trial & Appeals Board (PTAB), an agency in the Department of Commerce, to hear post-issuance challenges to patents, without the process and protections of an Article III court. Justice Thomas’ opinion concluded that patents are “public rights” for purposes of Article III; therefore, unlike, say, property rights in land, patents can be retracted without going through an Article III court.

So the Koch brothers must be happy. The University of Akron School of Law scholar (whom we mentioned here before, even earlier this year [1, 2]) has just amplified deception or lobbying if not AstroTurfing.

PTAB is very difficult for these people to stop; they have tried just about everything, even scams (like piping patents through shells into the hands of tribes in exchange for bribes). They sent me threatening letters for pointing this out.

Earlier this week Donald Zuhn brought up a very old case (mentioned here several times in the past, especially back in January) because a decision got vacated and remanded, not overturned. In Zuhn’s words:

Today, in In re Tropp, the Federal Circuit vacated and remanded a decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board affirming the Examiner’s rejection of claims 29-53 of U.S. Application No. 13/412,233 for lack of sufficient written description under 35 U.S.C. § 112. In vacating the Board’s determination, the Court found that the Board had erred in its analysis.

The claims of the ’233 application are directed to a set of locks for securing luggage and methods of using that set of locks, wherein the locks have two components: a combination lock portion for use by travelers, and a master key portion for use by a luggage-screening entity, and wherein the set of locks has at least two subsets with a different number of dials on the combination lock portion.

This case deals with 35 U.S.C. § 112, which isn’t particularly relevant to is. But again it comes to show that they aren’t quite finding cases that suit their anti-PTAB agenda. Will Watchtroll and other patent maximalists soon try to make a ‘scandal’ out of it? Maybe. But their blogs are barely active anymore, Watchtroll’s founder is stepping down after 2 decades, and as we noted 2 days ago, PTAB is still reaching some record levels. It is not going away.

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