Why Patent Challenges Dominate The Landscape

  • Dec 21 2016
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  • Category: News

How has the American Invents Act shaped patent law?

Since the America Invents Act became law a little over five years ago, there have been tectonic shifts in the patent landscape as new proceedings for challenging patents have significantly affected patent law.

While re-examination proceedings challenging the validity of patents are not new, re-exams often lasted last for years which made litigating validity challenges a reasonable course of action.  However, AIA reviews have a one-year statutory deadline and proceedings such as inter partes reviews (IPRs) have resulted in numerous patent claims being invalidated.

Early on, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) was highly likely to invalidate patent claims, which encouraged companies to challenge patents in this venue rather than the courts. As a result, the PTAB has received far more petitions than the patent office was originally anticipating. Since AIA proceedings first became available in 2012, the PTAB has reportedly received about 5,500 petitions seeking to invalidate patents.

Today, the success rate for invalidating claims has fallen a bit, however, patent challenges before the board continues to be highly successful. Moreover, because the timeline for such proceedings is no longer open-ended, district courts are inclined to stay patent infringement cases until the PTAB renders a decision. In short, the PTAB is now the focal point of patent disputes for those plotting to attack a patent’s validity as well as patent owners seeking to defend their intellectual property.

The Takeaway

In sum, streamlining the timeline for challenging patents has given companies a clear advantage when pursuing AIA reviews, and the PTAB continues to be the venue of choice for companies seeking to invalidate patent claims.  Ultimately, of course, success in challenging or defending the validity of a patent hinges upon the strength of validity position developed and presented by your attorney.  In the final analysis, a business that is considering post-grant review proceedings should engage the services of a leading intellectual property law firm.