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:

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

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) recently designated two decisions as informative regarding discretionary denials of institution: Apple Inc. v. Fintiv, Inc., Case IPR2020-00019, Paper 15 (May 13, 2020), and Sand Revolution II, LLC v. Continental Intermodal Group – Trucking LLC, Case IPR2019-01393, Paper 24 (June 16, 2020).  These decisions show how the Board applied the Fintiv factors established in its recent Precedential Order to determine whether co-pending district court litigation should result in a discretionary denial of institution under AIA 35 U.S.C. § 314(a).
Continue Reading New PTAB Informative Decisions: Applying the Fintiv Factors in View of Parallel District Court Litigation

Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced “revised guidance for subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101,” and “guidance on the application of 35 U.S.C. § 112 to computer-implemented inventions.”  The guidance documents are available in the Federal Register and will take effect on Monday, January 7, 2019.
Continue Reading USPTO Announces Revised Guidance for Sections 101 and 112

In view of the Federal Circuit’s April 13, 2018 decision in Vanda Pharms. Inc. v. West-Ward Pharms., 877 F.3d 1117(Fed. Cir. 2018), regarding subject matter patent eligibility, the USPTO issued a memorandum on June 7, 2018, to “address[] the limited question of how to evaluate the patent eligibility of ‘method of treatment’ claims” and announce modifications to life sciences example 29 of the PTO’s current patent-eligibility guidance. Memo at 3.

Continue Reading USPTO’s Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance Evolves After Vanda Pharms. Inc. v. West-Ward Pharms.