General Electric Co. v. Raytheon Technologies Corporation, fka United Technologies Corporation, Case No. 19-1012.

On February 24, 2020, we reported on GE’s petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court. The petition sought review of the Federal Circuit’s doctrine on Article III standing for petitioners to appeal IPR decisions, which essentially required a possibility of

Image Processing Technologies LLC v. Samsung Electronics Co., LTD. et al., Appeal Nos. 2018-2156, 2019-1408, 2019-1485 (Fed. Cir. March 2, 2020).

The Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the PTAB’s decisions against Image Processing’s U.S. Patent No. 8,983,134 in IPR2017-00353 and IPR2017-01218. The vacatur and remand was based upon the Federal Circuit’s earlier Arthrex decision, which held that the PTAB judges were improperly appointed under the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Arthrex decision from October 2019 is proving to be quite controversial, and the USPTO is seeking an opportunity to have the doctrine reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Continue Reading U.S. Government in Search of Arthrex Reversal

General Electric v. United Technologies Corp.

General Electric petitioned for an IPR against a United Technologies patent relating to gas turbine engines. General Electric was unsuccessful against certain claims, and sought to appeal. While there is a statutory right to appeal, the Federal Circuit dismissed General Electric’s appeal for lack of Article III standing. See Gen. Elec. Co . v. United Techs. Corp., 928 F.3d 1349 (Fed. Cir. 2019).
Continue Reading Standing to Appeal

This article was published in February 2020 issue of IP Strategist. Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC.  It is republished here with permission.

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to determine just how “final and nonappealable” a decision to institute an inter partes review is. The highest court is primed to render yet another opinion related to patent and administrative law in Thryv, Inc. v. Click-to-Call Techs., L.P., No. 19-916 (2019) after oral arguments were heard on Dec. 9, 2019.
Continue Reading Do Not Pass Go? U.S. Supreme Court to Review Federal Circuit’s Finding of Justiciability

On January 13, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in the following cases:

HP Inc. v. Berkheimer (18-415) (method of archiving in a computer);

Hikma Pharmaceuticals, et al. v. Vanda Pharmaceuticals (18-817) (method of treating a patient with schizophrenia); and

Athena Diagnostics, Inc. et al. v. Mayo Collaborative, et al. (19-430) (method of diagnosing

In an inter-partes review proceeding (IPR), a challenger can rely only on patents and printed publications to challenge the validity of a patent claim. In contrast, in a post grant review (PGR) proceeding, a challenger can rely on any ground related to patentability, including prior sale, to challenge a patent claim.  In particular, 35 U.S.C. §102(a)(1) bars a person from receiving a patent on an invention that was “in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention.”
Continue Reading Supreme Court Holds That AIA On-Sale Bar Applied to Secret Sales

The 2011 America Invents Act (AIA) provided a variety of new ways to administratively challenge patents, including the now widely used inter partes review (“IPR”) procedure.  In two recent appeals of IPR decisions, Genentech has challenged the constitutionality of IPR proceedings when applied to patents that were already issued as of the date that the AIA was enacted.

Genentech has filed two appeals to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) involving decisions by the U. S. Patent Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) invalidating certain patent rights issued to Genentech on immunotherapy biologics. (Federal Circuit Docket Nos. 18-1933 and 18-1959.)  These patents have been asserted against a number of competitors seeking to market biosimilar products to Genentech’s Avastin® and Herceptin® antibody therapeutics.

The appeals stem from two IPR Petitions filed by Hospira, IPR2016-01771 and IPR2016-01837, that challenged claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,622,115 and 7,807,799, respectively. The ’115 Patent issued in November 2009 and the ’799 Patent issued in October, 2010 – both issuance dates being well before the 2011 enactment of the AIA.  The PTAB initiated trials on both patents and ultimately found all of the challenged claims to be invalid over the prior art presented by Hospira.

Genentech’s briefs assert “the retroactive application of inter partes review to a patent issued before that procedure existed is unconstitutional, a taking without just compensation and a denial of due process,” in violation of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment.

The Federal Circuit has now certified Genentech’s constitutional challenges to the U.S. Attorney General, who has been directed to inform the Court whether the United States intends to intervene in the appeals within 30 days.

Genentech’s position may seem like a “Hail Mary pass” effort to save its patents, especially in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year in Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC, No. 16-712, 138 S. Ct. 1365 (2018) (“Oil States”), where the Court rejected the patent owner’s argument that revoking patent claims as a result of an IPR proceeding is unconstitutional under Article III and the Seventh Amendment.

In the Oil States case, the Court held that the decision to grant a patent is a matter involving public rights and, hence, a challenge to a patent’s validity need not be heard exclusively in an Article III federal court and does not require a jury trial.  (For our detailed analysis of the Oil States decision, click here.)

However, Genentech’s arguments are based on the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition on taking private property for public use without just compensation by a process that did not exist when the property rights were granted. The author of the Oil States decision, Justice Clarence Thomas, emphasized the narrowness of the holding in the Oil States case and made it clear that the case addresses “only the precise constitutional challenges . . . raised here.” Oil States at 1369.
Continue Reading Attorney General’s Office May Weigh In on Constitutionality of IPRs involving Pre-AIA Patents

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this week in SAS Institute v. Iancu has upended a major provision of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) regulations for inter partes and post grant review proceedings conducted by its Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).  By concluding in a 5-4 decision that the agency lacks the authority