Amici briefs supporting AIA Trials and Inter Partes Review are beginning to be filed. The first brief in is filed by John Vandenberg’s team at Klarquist representing SAP, Gilead, Nautilus, and others. The Brief presents a reexamination linkage and slippery-slope argument in two forms: (1) killing inter partes review will also kill reexaminations; and (2) pre-AIA patentees ‘consented’ to reexamination and that should be seen as consent to inter partes review.
Since 1980, the Patent Office has issued more than 10,000 reexamination certificates canceling, amending, adding, or confirming claims of issued patents. Inter partes review is substantively identical to reexamination, enforcing the same patentability conditions and issuing the same certificates canceling, amending, adding or confirming claims. Like reexamination, inter partes review is a rational condition the Legislature has imposed to maintain a patent, pursuant to its Constitutional authority to grant patents “for limited Times” to promote the useful Arts.
Since 1980, every patent applicant has consented to the substance of this reexamination as a maintenance condition for each granted patent. . . . Petitioner obtained its patent before 2011. But, like every other patent applicant since December 12, 1980, Petitioner consented to reexamination as a condition for maintaining its patent. Petitioner knew that the patent it sought would be subject to a reexamination request by anyone in the world at any time, including the Commissioner (now Director) of Patents, potentially leading to early cancellation of the patent. And, as noted, the substance of that reexamination to which it consented, is identical to inter partes review.
I am sympathetic to the arguments here – especially if narrowed to focus solely on inter partes reexamination. A key caveat though is that the Supreme Court has never ruled that inter partes reexaminations are a proper exercise of administrative power.