The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reiterated that “[s]overeign immunity does not apply to IPR proceedings when the patent owner is a state.” Board of Regents of the University of Texas System v. Baylor College of Medicine, Case No. 20-1469 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 10, 2020) (per curiam).
Baylor College of Medicine petitioned for inter partes review (IPR) of two patents owned by the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System (UT). UT moved to dismiss the petitions on state sovereign immunity grounds. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board denied the motion, citing Regents of the University of Minnesota v. LSI Corp. (IP Update, Vol. 22, No. 7).
UT appealed, arguing that University of Minnesota was wrongly decided, but admitted that the panel was bound by it. Predictably, the panel affirmed the Board.
Practice Note: UT’s strategy implies that it intends to use its case as a vehicle to seek en banc (and possibly Supreme Court) review of the University of Minnesota decision.