United States: USPTO Issues Final Rules Changes For Trials before the PTAB

On March 31, 2016, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued final rules implementing several changes and clarifications to the rules governing trial proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), including inter partes, post grant and covered business method review proceedings, as well as derivation proceedings. 1 These final rules are adopted from the rules proposed in August 2015 and reflect public comments both before and after those rules were proposed. The rules changes are of interest to stakeholders in the patent system—both patent owners and prospective patent challengers—as they reflect ongoing changes to the PTAB trial proceedings that have become an important part of patent litigation in the United States.

Testimonial Evidence Submitted with a Preliminary Response

In the final rules issued yesterday, the USPTO removed the prohibition on new testimonial evidence submitted with a patent owner's preliminary response from 37 C.F.R. §§ 42.107 and 42.207. Any evidence may now be used in support of the preliminary response. The amended rules state, however, that "any genuine issue of material fact created by such testimonial evidence [submitted with a preliminary response] will be viewed in the light most favorable to the petitioner solely for purposes of deciding whether to institute an inter partes [or post-grant] review." Sections 42.108 and 42.208 allow petitioners to request leave to file a reply to a preliminary response, which may be granted on a showing of good cause.

Claim Construction

The USPTO amended sections 42.100 and 42.200 to specify that the broadest reasonable interpretation standard for claim construction, which applies to unexpired claims in inter partes and post-grant review proceedings, does not apply if the claims will expire before the final written decision. To that end, the amended rules permit parties to request that the PTAB apply "a district court-type claim construction approach" for patents that will expire within 18 months of the entry of the notice affording a filing date to a petition. Such requests must be made by motion within 30 days following the petition's filing.

Duty of Candor Requirements

The new rules further clarify the duty of candor requirements on counsel and parties appearing in PTAB trial proceedings. In particular, 37 C.F.R. § 42.11 now expressly incorporates the requirements of § 11.18(a) and (b)(2) that apply generally to signatures before the USPTO. Thus, the signature of a paper is a certification that "[t]o the best of the party's knowledge, information and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances":

  • the paper is not submitted for an improper purpose;
  • the averments and denials have (or, after further investigation or discovery, are likely to have) evidentiary support; and
  • the legal contentions are warranted by existing law or a nonfrivolous argument to change existing law.

These certification requirements are similar to those imposed in federal district courts by Rule 11 of the Federal Rules Civil Procedure.

The rules also specify that the PTAB may enforce the requirements with sanctions for their violation, either upon a motion by the opposing party or on the PTAB's own initiative. The procedures associated with motions and sua sponte orders seeking to impose such sanctions are, again, similar to those provided in Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Other Procedural Changes

The new rules also replace page limits with word count limits for petitions, preliminary responses, patent owner responses and replies to petitions. Previously, petitions, preliminary responses and patent owner responses were limited to 60 pages in inter partes reviews and derivation proceedings and 80 pages in post-grant reviews (including covered business method patent reviews). Under the new rules, these papers will be limited to 14,000 words or 18,700 words in the respective proceedings. Replies to petitions, which were previously limited to 25 pages in any proceeding, will be limited to 5,600 words. This will allow parties to include arguments in claim charts and avoid certain formality requirements under the previously issued rules.

The new rules also amend section 42.23(b) to explicitly preclude raising new arguments in replies to patent owner responses or preliminary responses. The PTAB frequently applied this restriction through its case-by-case jurisprudence, even though the prior rule only referred to motions, but it is now expressly included in the rule.

The new rules also change the required time for serving demonstrative exhibits from 5 business days before oral argument to 7 business days before oral argument.

Conclusion

The changes to the rules governing America Invents Act (AIA) trial proceedings reflect the USPTO's ongoing effort to improve the adjudication of these still-new proceedings. Other changes that the USPTO considered during the public comment period, such as changes relating to discovery and the procedure for amending claims, were ultimately rejected in favor of allowing the PTAB's jurisprudence develop on a case-by-case basis. Nonetheless, the changes that were made will likely have a significant impact on practice before the PTAB in at least some cases. And the rules and their application should continue to evolve as a result of future rules changes and appellate decisions from both the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the US Supreme Court.

Footnotes

1 The final rules were published in the Federal Register on April 1, 2016. See Amendments to the Rules of Practice for Trials Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, 81 FR 18750 (Apr. 1, 2016).

Originally published 1 April 2016

Visit us at mayerbrown.com

Mayer Brown is a global legal services provider comprising legal practices that are separate entities (the "Mayer Brown Practices"). The Mayer Brown Practices are: Mayer Brown LLP and Mayer Brown Europe – Brussels LLP, both limited liability partnerships established in Illinois USA; Mayer Brown International LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales (authorized and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and registered in England and Wales number OC 303359); Mayer Brown, a SELAS established in France; Mayer Brown JSM, a Hong Kong partnership and its associated entities in Asia; and Tauil & Chequer Advogados, a Brazilian law partnership with which Mayer Brown is associated. "Mayer Brown" and the Mayer Brown logo are the trademarks of the Mayer Brown Practices in their respective jurisdictions.

© Copyright 2016. The Mayer Brown Practices. All rights reserved.

This Mayer Brown article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed herein.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.