In a unanimous decision authored by Justice Sotomayor, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) is not entitled to recover its attorney’s fees in an appeal to a district court from an adverse decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) under 35 USC § 145. Peter v. NantKwest, Inc., Case No. 18-801 (Supr. Ct. Dec. 11, 2019) (Sotomayor, Justice).
The question posed in this case was:
[W]hether such “expenses” [in § 145 proceedings] include the salaries of attorney and paralegal employees of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).
The answer was a resounding “no.”