Manoj Gandhi Discusses USPTO Patent Challenges with Law360
Law360, for its article “Fed. Circ. Nix Of $18M Fine Shows USPTO Challenges' Power,” quoted Akin Gump intellectual property counsel Manoj Gandhi on the impact of patent challenges at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The article notes that, in a recent patent infringement suit involving ePlus Inc., the Federal Circuit dismissed Lawson Software Inc.’s injunction and $18 million contempt fine imposed by a lower court because, after a re-examination, USPTO invalidated ePlus’ patent while Lawson’s appeal was pending. Gandhi added, “The big takeaway is that proceedings in front of the USPTO are becoming more and more impactful on what goes on in court.”
Gandhi said that, because the Federal Circuit ruled against patent owners in ePlus as well as in an earlier case favoring Fresenius USA, throwing out judgments in the tens of millions of dollars, such ruling are very powerful as they allow patent defendants to have a second opportunity at invalidity in another venue—the PTAB even after they have lost at the district court. He also noted that ePlus and similar decisions may change patent litigation strategy, as defendants’ leverage over patent owners via USPTO challenges may make patent owners more willing to settle. He added, “It's another arrow in the patent defendants’ quiver.”
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