The Supreme Court has asked for the USPTO’s input on whether it should hear the pending dispute Oil States Energy Services v. Greene’s Energy Group (Supreme Court 2017). The case again raises constitutional questions as to the power of an executive agency (the USPTO) to cancel issued patent rights. [petition][opposition][reply]
1. Whether inter partes review … violates the Constitution by extinguishing private property rights through a non-Article III forum without a jury.
2. Whether the amendment process implemented by the PTO in interpartes review conflicts with this Court’s decision in Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v. Lee, 136 S. Ct. 2131 (2016), and congressional direction.
3. Whether the “broadest reasonable interpretation” of patent claims–upheld in Cuozzo for use in inter partes review–requires the application of traditional claim construction principles, including disclaimer by disparagement of prior art and reading claims in light of the patent’s specification.
The request for the USPTO’s input in the case is not, however as amicus but instead as respondent. In December, the USPTO waived its right to respond to the action. USPTO’s brief is due March 29, 2017.
So far, no amicus briefs have been filed in the case and the deadline had been long past to support petitioner. However, the Supreme Court’s new request for response from the PTO resets the timeline. Under Supreme Court rules, briefs in support of petitioner (or neither party) can be filed within 30 days from the February 27, 2017 request.
The Patent at issue in the case is U.S. Patent No. 6,179,053 that covers a lockdown mechanism for well tools.