Invalidating Patents Through Inter Partes Review

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In the nine and a half months since its creation, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO's) new inter partes review proceedings have become a popular way to attempt to invalidate a patent. As of June 25, 2013, at least 317 inter partes reviews have been requested. What is making this new procedure for invalidating patents so popular? Perhaps it is the game-changing effect for businesses accused of infringing a questionably invalid patent, or the ability to invalidate a competitor's surprisingly broad patent. Regardless of the particular reasons, the new inter partes review procedure provides a less expensive and quicker way to invalidate a patent than through traditional patent litigation.

What Is It?

Inter partes review is a procedure requested from the USPTO to invalidate a patent by showing that the invention claimed by the patent was already known or obvious based on earlier patents and publications. This new procedure went into effect on September 16, 2012, and was created under the America Invents Act to replace and improve upon an old procedure called inter partes reexamination which was widely criticized for taking too long to reach a decision on patent validity.

Originally published in the Orange County Business Journal. For full article, please see below.

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