by Dennis Crouch
In a precedential opinion, the Federal Circuit has rejected MCM’s foundational challenges against the Inter Partes Review (IPR) system implemented as a result of the America Invents Act of 2011 (AIA).
MCM Portfolio v. HP (Fed. Cir. 2015) (MCM.decision)
In particular, the court held that the IPR system does not violate Article III of the U.S. Constitution nor does it violate the Seventh Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. On the merits, the court then affirmed the PTAB’s decision cancelling MCM’s challenged claims as obvious. The court writes:
The teachings of the Supreme Court in Thomas, Schor, and Stern compel the conclusion that assigning review of patent validity to the PTO is consistent with Article III. . . . . [Furthermore we] are bound by prior Federal Circuit precedent. . . . We see no basis to distinguish the reexamination proceeding in Patlex from inter partes review. . . .
Because patent rights are public rights, and their validity susceptible to review by an administrative agency, the Seventh Amendment poses no barrier to agency adjudication without a jury.
The decision here also essentially forecloses Carl Cooper’s parallel proceedings. However, both parties are likely to request rehearing en banc followed by petitions for writ of certiorari.