To guide and inform the public about the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s practice surrounding post-grant proceedings, the Board periodically designates certain of its decisions as precedential or informative. As noted by the PTAB:
A precedential decision establishes binding authority concerning major policy or procedural issues, or other issues of exceptional importance, including constitutional questions, important issues regarding statutes, rules, and regulations, important issues regarding case law, or issues of broad applicability to the Board. Standard Operating Procedure 2, 2-3, 11.
An informative decision provides Board norms on recurring issues, guidance on issues of first impression to the Board, guidance on Board rules and practices, and guidance on issues that may develop through analysis of recurring issues in many cases. Standard Operating Procedure 2, 9.
Relatedly, the Patent Office uses a Precedential Opinion Panel “to decide issues of exceptional importance to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (e.g., issues involving agency policy or procedure).” That Panel is composed of the Director of the Patent Office, the Commissioner for Patents, and the Chief Judge of the PTAB.
Recently, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that it established two online portals, to facilitate submitting 1) requests to designate precedential and informative decisions, and 2) amicus positions regarding requests for Panel review. Continue Reading PTAB Adds Online Public-Submission Forms