August was another busy month for the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board with nearly seventy new petitions filed challenging issued patents.

Last week at ceremonies in Washington, D.C. commemorating the second anniversary of the America Invents Act (AIA), Chief Administrative Patent Judge James Smith of the PTAB noted that over 500 hundred petitions had been filed since the contested matters provisions of the AIA took effect.  He predicted that the USPTO will soon be seeing 1,000 new petitions a year challenging patents and that this case load will rival that of the busiest federal district courts hearing patent suits.

According to Judge Smith, the board is instituting trials more than 80 percent of the time and he predicted that the PTAB will grant at least 400 petitions and initiate invalidity trials on more than 400  patents in 2013.  He suggested that the high number of petitions “is indicative of the trust that patent challengers feel that the board is, at least in their view, going to do the right thing in these proceedings.”

“Once potential petitioners saw the high percentage that result in trials, it boosted the level of confidence that the board is taking these seriously,” he said.