On January 15, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the appealability of decisions to institute an Inter Partes Review (“IPR”) proceeding before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) and the appropriate claim construction standard to be used in IPR proceedings.
In IN RE: CUOZZO SPEED TECHNOLOGIES, LLC, 2014-1301 (CAFC, July 8, 2015), the majority panel of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) held that the Court lacked jurisdiction to review the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) decisions to institute or deny post-grant proceedings under IPR proceedings according to 35 U.S.C. 314. The majority also held that unlike the district courts, the PTAB may apply the broadest reasonable interpretation standard for claim construction. In dissent, Judge Newman opposed both holdings, arguing that administrative decisions should be reviewed by the courts and, if the new post-grant proceedings are adjudicative, judicial standards of claim construction must apply. The split panel highlights the differing views on the new post-grant procedures implemented under the America Invents Act (“AIA”).
The questions presented to the Supreme Court in the Writ of Certiorari to be addressed are:
1. Whether the court of appeals erred in holding that, in IPR proceedings, the Board may construe claims in an issued patent according to their broadest reasonable interpretation rather than their plain and ordinary meaning.
2. Whether the court of appeals erred in holding that, even if the Board exceeds its statutory authority in instituting an IPR proceeding, the Board’s decision whether to institute an IPR proceeding is judicially unreviewable.