Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v. Lee

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Patents
  • Date Filed: June 20, 2016
  • Case #: 15-446
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: BREYER, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court with respect to Parts I and III, and the opinion of the Court with respect to Part II, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and KENNEDY, THOMAS, GINSBURG, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J., filed a concurring opinion. ALITO, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which SOTOMAYOR, J., joined.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, 35 U.S.C. § 314(d) does bar judicial review and 35 U.S.C. § 316(a)(4) authorizes the Patent Office to regulate when it is reasonable and within their authority to do so.

Petitioner received a patent covering the design of a speedometer in 2004. In 2012, a third party filed a petition with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Board) seeking an inter partes review of one of the Petitioner’s Patent’s claims. The Board reexamined the claim and determined that the claim was: 1) implicitly connected to two other claims, and 2) was obvious in light of previous patents and that all the claims should be canceled. Petitioner appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit arguing that the Board: 1) had incorrectly challenged the other claims because the third party did not initially challenge them “with particularity” in their petition, and 2) lacked the authority to apply its own regulatory standard for interpretation. The Court of Appeals rejected both arguments holding that the Board’s decision was “un-appealable” and that the Board’s use of a regulatory mandated standard was reasonable and therefore lawfully within their power. Petitioner then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which granted certiorari. The Court affirmed reasoning that the language of §314(d) explicitly barred Petitioner’s appeal of the Board’s determination. Moreover, the Court held that §316(a)(4) explicitly authorizes the Patent Office to determine how to regulate an inter partes review. AFFIRMED.

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