The Patent Review System: Legal or Illegal?

The Patent Review System: Legal or Illegal?

Last month, we posted about the potential demise of the Eastern District of Texas after the Supreme Court ruled that patent infringement cases must be filed where the defendant is incorporated. Now, SCOTUS will again consider a patent matter.

Per the U.S. News & World Report, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from an oilfield services company to review a lower court’s ruling that upheld the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s process, called an inter partes review, in which it can review previously granted patents, determine if they were granted in error and then cancel them.

The inter partes review process was intended to be quicker and less expensive than traditional litigation and to oppose “patent trolls.”

Patent holders have cried foul, saying this process violates their constitutional rights as it doesn’t permit them the right to a jury trial. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit disagreed, ruling that because patents are not property, the lack of a jury trial is not unconstitutional.

While this case, says the report, centers around a patent relating to hydraulic fracking, technology companies will be watchful as they have used the inter partes review to invalidate patents they are accused of infringing upon.

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