By statute, Congress gave the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) broad discretionary power in deciding whether or not to institute an inter partes review (“IPR”) proceeding. Recently, the PTAB’s application of this discretionary authority to deny IPR petitions has continued to be aggressive in frequency and scope.
Several possible rationales for this continued upward trend exist including: (1) docket management, (2) concerns with protecting review process/patent owners from “abuse”, and (3) the SAS Institute Inc. v. Iancu decision. Continue reading Law of the Case? Not in our Forum! Continuing Trend of PTAB Aggressively Using Its Discretionary Powers to Deny Institution of IPRs
One issue which we’ve been keeping an eye on is the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s use of its discretion under 35 U.S.C. § 325(d) to deny institution of inter partes review for petitions using “the same or substantially the same prior art or arguments previously [ ] presented to the Office.” (See our previous posts on the topic here and here.)
In an effort to better understand the Board’s use of § 325(d) we reviewed every institution decision issued by the Board in the last 15 months to see (1) whether a petition was opposed under this statutory provision and (2) whether institution was denied as a result. The results of this study, described in greater detail below, suggest that § 325(d) remains rarely used by the Board. That said, Petitioners still must account for this statutory provision by including different prior art or grounds of rejection in the petition, explaining those differences to the Board, and ensuring a proper petition is filed in the first instance to avoid a “second bite” rejection. Continue reading Board’s Discretion Under § 325(d) Remains Rarely Used
Earlier this month we explored the Board’s discretionary power under 35 U.S.C. § 325(d) to deny a petition premised on prior art or arguments previously considered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Shortly after that blog post, the Board issued another decision illustrating its use of § 325(d) to deny institution of a review where petitioners seek a so-called “second bite at the apple.”
In Travelocity.com LP v. Cronos Technologies, LLC, the Board denied a Petition for Covered Business Method Review “[i]n view of the substantially similar arguments presented and the same references applied in an earlier Petition.” CBM2015-00047, Paper 7, 2 (PTAB June 15, 2015). Continue reading PTAB Uses § 325(d) to Prevent a Second Bite
One issue commonly raised by a patent owner in their Preliminary Response is the Board’s ability to deny institution because the petitioner’s proposed grounds are premised on prior art previously considered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent owner argues that the prior art at issue was previously raised during prosecution, in a reexamination, or in a prior petition for inter partes review of the challenged patent. Under 35 U.S.C. § 325(d), the Board has discretion to deny a petition where it is based on arguments and prior art already seen at the PTO:
“In determining whether to institute or order a proceeding … the Director may take into account whether, and reject the petition or request because, the same or substantially the same prior art or arguments previously were presented to the Office.” 35 U.S.C. § 325(d).
Continue reading Patent Owner Challenges Under 35 U.S.C. § 325(d)