Navigating the Interplay Between the ITC, PTAB and District Courts

By on June 3, 2021
Posted In Patents

Recent changes in intellectual property law in the US International Trade Commission (ITC), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and federal US District Courts have had major impacts on litigation strategy and business operations. Within these venues, key changes often run parallel to each other, and understanding and maximizing the interplay between them is critical to formulizing an IP strategy. A panel of McDermott attorneys, including Charlie McMahon, Amol Parikh, Jay Reiziss and Jiaxiao Zhang, recently hosted a webinar exploring these issues in collaboration with IAM and Lexology. Click here to watch their discussion of the complexities of these related developments as well as innovative and practical insights to help you navigate them.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The rate at which the PTAB institutes petitions for Inter Partes Review (IPR) has been steadily declining, with a newer low expected this year. The falling institution rate over the last several years is attributable in part to discretionary denial under § 314(a).
  • Until 2020, there was still uncertainty behind the contours of how the PTAB’s discretionary denial would be applied when there was a co-pending district court or ITC proceeding. Last year, the PTAB designated as precedential its decision in Apple v. Fintiv, setting forth factors intended to guide the discretionary decision to institute when there are parallel proceedings.
  • Post-Fintiv, it looks less likely that litigants will be able to simultaneously pursue district court litigation and a PTAB proceeding. One of the benefits of the PTAB is the lower burden of proof to demonstrate that a patent is unpatentable. Removing this tool from the litigation toolbox could have a profound impact on defensive strategy.
  • It is still unclear how the PTAB’s Finitiv decision will apply to ITC investigations. Fitness technology companies, among others, have since asked the PTAB’s Precedential Opinion Panel (POP) to determine whether Fintiv should apply to parallel ITC investigations.
  • There have also been additional developments at the ITC related to the use of licensing to satisfy the domestic industry requirement. The pending Advancing America’s Interests Act (AAIA) would significantly change how complainants can rely upon licensing activities to establish a domestic industry.

 

Jiaxiao ZhangJiaxiao Zhang
Jiaxiao Zhang focuses her practice on intellectual property litigation matters. Jiaxiao has experience in federal district court actions in California, Texas, and Florida, and proceedings before the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Read Jiaxiao Zhang's full bio.

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