Steven Maslowski Quoted by Law360 on 2018 Supreme Court Patent Cases

Steven Maslowski, a partner in the intellectual property practice at Akin Gump, has been quoted in the Law360 article “Patent Cases To Watch In 2018,” commenting on a pair of patent cases to be decided this year by the Supreme Court.

The first, Oil States Energy Services LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group LLC, pertains to a case that challenges America Invents Act inter partes reviews (IPRs) as being unconstitutional. The IPR process, the article reports, has been used to challenge the validity of thousands of issued patents since it was established in 2012. If the Court rules that it violates the Constitution, the entire program could disappear.

“That has just massive implications if it comes out in favor of the unconstitutionality of the IPR process,” said Maslowski.

Even if the Court were to uphold the review process and find IPRs to be constitutional, Maslowski said the case provides an opportunity for the justices to give their thoughts on how they view the fairness of the overall procedure.

“I think this is certainly one of those cases where we hope that there is guidance, or at least commentary on the Supreme Court’s view of the procedure as a whole, even if it meets the requirements of constitutionality as it has been teed up in the current case,” he said.

The second case Maslowski discusses is SAS Institute Inc. v. Matal, which concerns the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s process for instituting review of patents. In challenging a software patent it was accused of infringing, SAS Institute contends the board should have to address the patentability of every challenged claim in IPR. Currently, the board can pick and choose which claims to review.

Maslowski said the case “has the potential to have a huge impact on a number of different parties to the IPR process overall.”