US Supreme Court Gives PTO Director Chance To Impact Outcome Of Patent Disputes
High court finds PTAB judges were unconstitutionally appointed; ruling is unlikely to benefit one party over another in inter partes review proceedings, attorneys say, but that could depend on the director. PTO is expected to provide guidance on how and when to request review of Patent Trial and Appeal Board decisions.
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Intellectual property became front page news in 2021 as the pandemic ignited a debate on the role of patents in accessing COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. 2022 will see a decision on the TRIPS waiver, a new USPTO director, and action on a pending march-in petition.
Members of Congress, companies and government agencies want the Patent Office to change policies that they say impede generic drug competition. The latest effort is focused on PTO’s discretionary denial of inter partes review petitions, which is the subject of a bipartisan congressional letter and cert petition to the US Supreme Court.
Ruling keeps the principle of assignor estoppel in place, but restricts its use to situations where an inventor’s claims in court directly contradict those in the patent.