The New Inter Partes Review: is it a death knell for too many patents?

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The new inter partes review procedures were reviewed for the first time by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals recently.  The court in a 2 to 1 decision, the Court upheld the Patent Office standard of review used by the Patent Office to invalidate patents. 

Effective in September 2012, the new inter partes review procedure is an administrative process authorized under the America Invents Act.  It provides a third party with the opportunity to dispute the validity of a recently issued patent before the US Patent Office. 

Many are calling the new procedures a “death squad” to patents because these new procedures give the Patent Office broad authority to invalidate patents.  The procedures are quickly being adopted by many companies to invalidate a competitor’s patent. 

The process is an administrative one.  As such, the process is relatively inexpensive and quicker than federal litigation.  The procedures to date have invalidated more patents than the amount invalidated through the federal court system during the same time period.   

Take away: keep an eye out for recently issued patents in your area of technology to determine whether the new inter partes review process might be an appropriate avenue for your company to pursue.  Conversely, once your patent issues, you need to be aware of this procedure from a defensive standpoint as well.  

Capitalizing on innovative developments is critical to any organization.  Having the right person to help you make those decisions is important.  The Law Office of Kathleen Lynch PLLC is designed to help businesses such as yours keep ahead of the game.   The first telephone consultation is free.  Email us at