The US Supreme Court has agreed to rule on the constitutionality of the inter partes review (IPR) system.
Under the IPR system, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board has the power to throw out issued patents.
The justices will hear arguments that the IPR system, set up by Congress in 2011, violates the constitutional right to a jury trial, Bloomberg reported.
The Supreme Court justices granted a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by Oil States Energy Services.
Congress created the IPR system through the America Invents Act of 2011, a law targeted at companies that assert patents but do not make products of their own.
These companies are often called “patent trolls.”
Google, Apple and Samsung Electronics are among the major companies that have used inter partes reviews as a defensive strategy in patent disputes.
The inter partes review system was designed to be cheaper and faster than litigation.
Companies faced with patent lawsuits may respond by initiating a review with the aim of invalidating the patent at issue.
“Use of these procedures has risen in popularity each year and has been somewhat transformative in the way patent litigation is handled,” Neel Chatterjee, a patent lawyer at the law firm Goodwin Procter, told Reuters.