May 11

Recent Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Authors: Scott Lydon and Christopher Messina.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v. Michelle K. Lee, No. 15-446 on April 25th.

At issue is whether the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) is correctly construing claims in an issued patent using their broadest reasonable interpretation rather than their plain and ordinary meaning. The narrower plain and ordinary meaning standard is used when construing claims in District Court litigation. A second issue, as a matter of separation of powers, is whether the Federal Circuit correctly held that PTAB decisions to institute inter partes review (IPR) are not judicially reviewable, even if the PTAB exceeds its statutory authority in instituting such proceedings. Currently, only a final written decision of the PTAB is reviewable by the Federal Circuit. 35 U.S.C. § 141(c).

A narrower construction and independent reviewability would help maintain patent rights. Currently, approximately 85 percent of IPR final written decisions result in at least one claim being invalidated. See Patent Trial and Appeal Board Statistics as of 3/31/2016.