September 16, 2013, marked the one-year anniversary of the implementation of the America Invents Act, and with it, the introduction of an important tool for challenging the validity of an issued patent at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – Inter Partes Review (IPR). IPR has replaced inter partes reexaminations. In contrast, inter partes reexaminations were applicable only to patents issued from an original application filed on or after November 29, 1999; IPR is available for all patents.
The IPR procedure has altered the dynamics of patent litigation by adding a trial-like invalidity proceeding before the Patent and Trial Appeal Board (PTAB). The proceeding is designed to be simple, streamlined, on a controlled timeline, and is intended to serve as an alternative to patent litigation on questioning a patent’s validity.
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