On September 9, 2017, an Eastern District of Texas magistrate judge issued a report and recommendation holding that a plaintiff was estopped from asserting its patent infringement claims because statements made in response to an inter partes review (IPR) petition constituted a disclaimer.
In Broad-Ocean Technologies, Inc. v. Regal Beloit America, Inc., No. IPR2017-00802 (PTAB Aug. 22, 2017), Broad-Ocean sought to institute an inter partes review (IPR) of a patent owned by Regal Beloit (the “’476 patent”). Broad-Ocean and Regal are competing manufacturers of electric motors and power generation products. Regal had previously sued Broad-Ocean in the Eastern District of Missouri for infringing the ’476 patent, which covers a “Snap-Fit  Housing Assembly and Seal Method” for a combustion furnace blower.
In Oil-Dri Corporates of America v. Nestle Purina Petcare Company, the court recently held that a defendant who has filed a parallel inter partes review (IPR) petition is estopped from raising invalidity grounds in the district court that were not, but reasonably could have been, raised in the defendant’s IPR petition. Oil-Dri, 1-15-cv-01067 (ILND August 2, 2017, Order). In this case, Purina raised several invalidity arguments in district court, some of which were not raised in Purina’s IPR petition. Id. at 5.
The Patent Trial and Appeal Board designated as precedential its October 25, 2013, decision to institute inter partes review and declined to apply the doctrine of assignor estoppel as an exception to 35 U.S.C.§311(a). Section 311(a) provides that “a person who is not the owner of a patent may file with the Office a petition to institute an inter partes review of the patent.”
On July 6, 2017, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) denied Petitioner Ford Motor Company’s (“Petitioner”) request for rehearing of the Board’s decision denying institution of multiple inter partes reviews (IPR) based on its finding that, under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b), the petitions were filed more than one year after the date on which the Petitioner was served with a complaint alleging patent infringement.
The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) issued a final written decision in an inter partes review determining Claims 1-5 of U.S. Patent No. 8,889,135 owned by Abbvie Biotechnology Ltd. unpatentable as obvious. Those claims cover methods of treating rheumatoid arthritis by administering—once every 13-15 days (i.e., biweekly) for a time period sufficient to treat the rheumatoid arthritis—40 mg of an antibody having certain sequences. The antibody D2E7, the active ingredient in Humira, is an antibody used in such a dosing regimen. The Board concluded that the challenged claims would have been obvious in light of two prior art references – van de Putte 2000 and Rau 2000 – which each described the results of clinical trials using D2E7.
In Valeo North America, Inc. v. Schaeffler Tech. AG & CO. KG, after finding that all original claims of the patent were unpatentable during an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board granted, in part, the patent owner’s motion to amend. The Board allowed substitution of two new claims based on unexpected results of the claimed inventions, despite patent owner’s concession that each element in the substitute claims is taught by the prior art of record.
In a case that highlights the importance for petitioners to conduct a thorough prior art search and to anticipate patent owner’s arguments, the PTAB denied a motion to submit supplemental information under 37 C.F.R. § 42.123(a).