Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) notes the sharp decrease in petitions filed for inter partes review (IPR):
"One of the standout US patent trends from last year, at least in terms of disputes, was the drop in new petition filings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Overall, according to Lex Machina, the number of post-issuance proceedings fell from 1,720 to 1,322, with the number of new inter partes reviews decreasing to 1,271 from 1,608 in 2018."
Note complaints filed for patent infringement in 2019 remained mostly steady, so the drop in IPRs filed may be due to the effectiveness of asserting patent ineligibility under 35 USC § 101, which cannot be raised as a ground of invalidity in an IPR.
In addition, IPRs filed in parallel with patent litigation may have decreased due to the Supreme Court's SAS decision which required PTAB to stop its partial institution practice. After SAS, PTAB was required to consider all grounds of invalidity in an IPR. If the IPR was not instituted, the patent owner was sure to inform a jury of that failure to prove invalidity. And if the IPR was instituted, and PTAB upheld validity of any patent claim, again jury heard it and the real party in interest would be estopped from raising the same grounds or grounds that could have been reasonable raised again in court. Finally, the USPTO policy changes and PTAB's reduced IPR institution rates are factors.
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