Lack of Precedent at PTAB Can Lead to Conflicting Panel Decisions

A recent decision at the PTAB highlights one of the difficulties faced by parties and practitioners before the Board: the potential for conflicting decisions in a forum where almost nothing is considered precedential.

Earlier this month an expanded panel re-visited the question of whether a Petitioner may join its own previously-instituted Petition for Inter Partes Review. Consistent with earlier decisions, this expanded panel concluded that so-called “issue joinder” (the same party joining new issues to an instituted petition) is permissible under 35 U.S.C. § 315(c). Zhongshan Broad Ocean Motor Co., Ltd. v. Nidec Motor Corp., IPR2015-00762 (PTAB October 5, 2015) (Paper 16). Continue reading “Lack of Precedent at PTAB Can Lead to Conflicting Panel Decisions”

Overcoming Common Arguments Against Joinder of IPRs

A review of patent owners’ Oppositions to Joinder shows three common arguments against joining inter partes reviews: the lack of availability of issue joinder, the failure of joinder to simplify issues before the Board, and the inequity of allowing joinder.  This post explores counter-arguments which can be used by a Petitioner when bringing a Motion for Joinder of IPRs

The joinder of inter partes reviews is left to the discretion of the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (“the Board”). 35 U.S.C. § 315(c) (“the Director, in his or her discretion, may join as a party to that inter partes review any person who properly files a petition under section 311 that the Director, after receiving a preliminary response under section 313 or the expiration of the time for filing such a response, determines warrants the institution of an inter partes review under section 314.). Continue reading “Overcoming Common Arguments Against Joinder of IPRs”