A recent ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the appellate court that handles most patent cases in the U.S., is the subject of this special blog post. On Dec. 2, 2015, the court determined that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) had the authority to declare a patent invalid in MCM Portfolio LLC v. Hewlett-Packard Co. This decision merits a special blog post because the creation of PTAB trial proceedings was an important feature of the America Invents Act.
The appellant was a patent owner that had four claims of a patent directed to a certain type of computer system declared invalid in an inter partes proceeding before the PTAB. The appellant argued that the PTAB did not have the authority to declare patent claims invalid because they could only be declared invalid by courts that are created under Article III of the U.S. Constitution.
The appellant relied upon a Supreme Court case from the 19th century as the primary basis of this argument. The court examined a line of precedents relating to reissued patents and reexamination proceedings to find that the PTAB could declare patent claims invalid. The court also considered whether the use of PTAB trial proceedings violates the Seventh Amendment of the Constitution. Again, the court relied on precedents relating to analogous proceedings to find that appellant’s rights were not violated by the PTAB.
The appellant raised two other arguments that were also rejected by the court.