A Likely Uphill Battle for Synopsys In Suit Against The Patent Office

Cindy Chen | June 13, 2014

In a complaint recently filed in a Virginia federal court, Synopsys accused the Patent and Trademark Office (“the Patent Office”) of prescribing rules and regulations for inter partes review (77 Fed. Reg. 48727) that are procedurally defective and ultra vires. Synopsys took issue specifically with Patent Office’s Rules 42.108(a) and (b), which govern the institution of review and instruct that:

(a) When instituting inter partes review, the Board may authorize the review to proceed on all or some of the challenged claims and on all or some of the grounds of unpatentability asserted for each claim;

(b) At any time prior to institution of inter partes review, the Board may deny some or all grounds for unpatentability for some or all of the challenged claims. Denial of a ground is a Board decision not to institute inter partes review on that ground.

These rules, Synopsys argued, are inconsistent with Sections 314(a) and 318(a) of the America Invents Act (“AIA”). Section 314(a) sets the threshold for instituting inter partes review at “a reasonable likelihood that the petitioner would prevail with respect to at least 1 of the claims challenged in the petition.” Synopsys interpreted this statutory language to mean that where the threshold is met, the Patent Office must grant a petition for inter partes review in whole.
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Scope of Live Testimony in Final IPR Hearings

Scott Daniels | June 4, 2014

Last week we reported that in K-40 Electronics v. Escort (IPR2013-00203), the APJs had granted the Patent Owner’s request that its inventor be allowed to give live testimony on his invention’s conception date, presumably to remove the references as prior art.  The APJs explained that live testimony was appropriate in view of the type of testimony to be presented.  They set a procedure, however, in which the inventor first would be cross-examined by the Petitioner on his declaration, followed by re-direct examination by the Patent Owner.


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Terminal Disclaimer does not Change Claim Construction Standard, at least not in the Final Stages of an Inter Partes Review

Scott Daniels | May 28, 2014

Patent Owners have criticized the new AIA post-issuance proceedings for a number of reasons.  The loudest criticism, however, has been directed at the APJs’ giving challenged patent claims their “broadest reasonable construction” – making them more vulnerable to attack from the prior art.  Only where the patent has expired (and the Patent owner may no longer amend its claims) do the APJs follow the practice of the District Courts in infringement actions, by construing claims more narrowly according to the Phillips v. AWH decision.


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APJs Allow Live Testimony at Oral Hearing

Scott Daniels | May 28, 2014

This past Thursday, the APJs signaled their willingness to hear live testimony at the oral hearing, at least in certain circumstances.  The panel in K-40 Electronics v. Escort (IPR2013-00203) explained that they do “not envision that live testimony will be necessary at many oral arguments … [but] under very limited circumstances, cross-examination of witnesses may be ordered to take place in the presence of an administrative patent judge.”


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