Patent owners ‘faring better at PTAB’ says study

Law firm Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto said its new study of proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) shows that “despite the initial reputation of Inter Partes Review (IPR) proceedings being that of patent killers, patent owners are winning more cases than ever.”

The law firm said the study “shows that the rate at which patent claims were found unpatentable by the PTAB fell significantly in 2016, while the volume of claims in dispute rose dramatically.”

The study found that in every quarter of 2016, the reviewed final written decisions resulted in more than half of the claims originally challenged in IPR proceedings surviving.

“By contrast, in the previous two years, the survival rate of such claims exceeded 50 percent only once,” said Fitzpatrick.

“In the first quarter of 2014, in fact, less than 20 percent of such claims survived challenge.

“The effect of last year’s decisions on the overall numbers was amplified by a sharp increase in the PTAB’s workload.

“The number of claims at issue in cases decided by the PTAB last year — 12,732 — is almost equivalent to the number of claims they had adjudicated in all previous years combined.

“The total rate at which patent claims have survived IPR challenges since the PTAB was first established rose to 45 percent due to patent owners’ success in IPR proceedings last year.

“That number was only 40 percent through 2015.”

Justin Oliver, partner at Fitzpatrick and head of the firm’s PTO Contested Proceedings practice, said: “While PTAB judges were busier than ever last year on a claim-by-claim basis, that increase in activity hasn’t created any negative trends for patent owners.

“In fact, this year’s report shows just the opposite. It’s evident that 2016 was the best year ever for patent holders in IPRs.”