BENNETT REGULATOR GUARDS, INC. V. ATLANTA GAS LIGHT COMPANY
- Sep 28 2018 |
- Category: CAFC Updates
Years after Bennett first sued Atlanta Gas for infringing its U.S. Patent No. 5,810,029 relating to an ice preventing device for use with an outside gas pressure regulator, the PTAB instituted Atlanta Gas’s inter partes review (IPR), held all challenged claims of Bennett’s ’029 patent unpatentable, and then sanctioned Atlanta Gas. Bennett appeals, arguing that 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) barred institution, that its claims should have survived, and that the Board should have imposed greater sanctions. Atlanta Gas crossappeals, seeking to overturn the sanctions. Section 315 permits a petitioner to seek IPR for a year after service of a complaint asserting the patent, but Atlanta Gas filed its IPR petition more than eighteen months after the statutory time limit. Because the Board exceeded its authority and contravened § 315(b)’s time bar when it instituted Atlanta Gas’s petition, the CAFC vacates the Board’s final written decision. Also, because the Board has not yet quantified its sanction, the CAFC declines to exercise pendent jurisdiction over the Board’s nonfinal sanctions order and remands.