Garrard Beeney and Jeff Wall Quoted on Supreme Court Review of Patent Challenges

January 19, 2016
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On January 19, The Wall Street Journal quoted Mr. Wall in an article on the Supreme Court's recent decision to consider the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's (PTO) procedures for evaluating challenges to the validity of patents. In 2011, Congress passed legislation to overhaul the PTO patent challenge review procedures and create a streamlined alternative to district-court litigation. The PTO subsequently adopted a different claim-construction standard than the one that district courts and the International Trade Commission use. S&C client Cuozzo Speed Technologies LLC argues that the inconsistency between PTO proceedings and federal court and ITC proceedings “produces a lot of confusion for parties and a lot of unfairness.”

"Cuozzo is delighted that the court is going to look at restoring greater fairness to the inter partes review process, so that patent owners' claims are construed in the way they would be in district court," Mr. Beeney told Law360 in its January 15 article “High Court to Review PTAB's Claim Construction Standard.” The PTO interprets claims of patents as broadly as possible, meaning patents challenged through it are much more likely to be found invalid than those interpreted with the narrow standards of district court. “The board shouldn't be invalidating patents based on a reading that is broader than the patent owner would be able to get in district court,” Mr. Wall told Law360. “It's fundamentally unfair, and it doesn't make any sense.” Oral arguments are likely to be heard this spring and decisions expected this July.