Thursday, June 28, 2018

USPTO - Proposes Changes to the Claim Construction in Trial Proceedings Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board

The USPTO is proposing changes favorable to patent owners with regard to claim construction in the following Patent Office proceedings: (1) inter partes review (IPR), (2) post-grant review (PGR), and (3) the transitional program for covered business method patents (CBM) proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

As stated in the regulatory notice: the USPTO "proposes to replace the broadest reasonable interpretation (“BRI”) standard for construing unexpired patent claims and proposed claims in these trial proceedings with a standard that is the same as the standard applied in federal district courts and International Trade Commission (“ITC”) proceedings. The Office also proposes to amend the rules to add that the Office will consider any prior claim construction determination concerning a term of the involved claim in a civil action, or an ITC proceeding, that is timely made of record in an IPR, PGR, or CBM proceeding."

If this change is implemented, it should be more difficult for a challenger to invalidate patent claims in certain cases, which may be reasonable given patent owners are rarely afforded the opportunity to amend claims in Patent Office proceedings to date.

See the USPTO Notice of Proposed Rule Making.

Also see U.S. Supreme Court's prior decision in Cuozzo Speed Technologies v. Lee that affirmed PTAB's use of the broadest reasonable interpretation of the claims in inter partes review.

Copyright © 2018 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.