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PTO Director Requests Input on Patent Trial & Appeal Board Decision Regarding Duty of Candor

On May 3, 2023, the Patent Trial & Appeal Board granted a motion for sanctions brought by Spectrum Solutions LLC against Longhorn Vaccines & Diagnostics LLC.[1] The resulting sanctions order canceled five Longhorn patents. The Board found that Longhorn failed to meet its duty of candor by selectively and improperly withholding material results inconsistent with its patentability arguments directed to the canceled claims covering chemical compositions, collection systems and methods for biological specimen collection, including preserving biological samples, killing pathogens and preventing nucleic acid degradation. Now, US Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) Director Katherine Vidal has initiated sua sponte review of the Board’s sanctions order.

In her order issued October 27, 2023, the Director authorized further briefing by both parties, as well as amicus curiae briefs in response to the Board’s decision and analysis for the Director’s review. The Director particularly seeks input on the following issues in the context of situations where relevant factual evidence has been withheld during an America Invents Act proceeding:

  • Which PTO regulations are implicated? Do such regulations include 37 C.F.R. § 1.56?
  • Is it an appropriate sanction for the Board to deem the claims unpatentable in its written decision? Is such a sanction proportionate to the harm caused by the party, taking into account the integrity of the patent system?
  • What other sanctions are appropriate, either in addition to or in place of applying adverse judgment in a final written decision to deem claims unpatentable?

Amicus briefs (of no more than 20 pages) limited to the issues and questions identified above should be submitted to Director_PTABDecision_Review@uspto.gov no later than four weeks after the October 27, 2023, entry date of the order.

For further details, see Order (Paper 133) in each of the listed IPR proceedings.

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[1] See IPR2021-00847 (US 8,084,443), IPR2021-00850 (US 8,293,467), IPR2021-00854 (US 8,669,20), IPR2021-00857 (US 9,212,399) and IPR2021-00860 (US 9,683,256).




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Sins of the Fathers? Grandparent IPR Factors into Current Institution Decision

US Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) Director Kathi Vidal vacated and remanded a Patent Trial & Appeal Board decision denying institution of an inter partes review (IPR) because the Board improperly applied the precedential Advanced Bionics framework in rendering its decision. Keysight Tech., Inc. v. Centripetal Networks, Inc., IPR2022-01421 (PTAB Decision Review Aug. 24, 2023) (Vidal, Dir.)

Keysight Tech. petitioned for an IPR proceeding against a patent owned by Centripetal Networks, challenging the validity of all claims. After the Board denied institution, Director Vidal issued a sua sponte director review decision, vacating and remanding the Board’s decision.

The Centripetal patent is the great-grandchild of, and shares the same disclosure as, an earlier Centripetal patent that was subject to an IPR proceeding during the pendency of the presently challenged patent. The Final Written Decision (FWD) in the earlier IPR found all claims of the patent unpatentable. The patent owner included that FWD in an Information Disclosure Statement (IDS) submitted during the prosecution of the presently challenged patent, and the examiner initialed it as having been considered.

In its decision denying institution, the Board cited the guidance of Advanced Bionics, which articulates a framework that requires that the Board determine the following:

  • Whether the same or substantially the same prior art or arguments made in the petition were previously presented to the PTO during prosecution of the challenged patent
  • Whether the PTO erred in a manner material to the patentability of the challenged claims when it allowed the claims of the patent.

If both factors are met in the affirmative, the Board should not exercise its discretion to deny institution.

Here, the Board found that the first factor of the Advanced Bionics framework was met because the petitioner’s arguments in its petition were the same or substantially the same as those in the FWD in the IPR of the grandparent patent. However, the Board found that the second part of the framework was not satisfied and therefore denied institution.

Although Director Vidal agreed with the Board’s findings under the first factor, she vacated the Board’s findings pursuant to the second factor after determining that this factor was also met. Director Vidal found that the PTO erred in a manner material to the patentability of the challenged claims for the following reasons:

  • The challenged patent and the grandparent were directed to the same subject matter.
  • The prior art references submitted to the PTO during the prosecution of the challenged patent were the same as those asserted in earlier IPR and were considered by the examiner through the patent owner’s IDS.
  • In the grandparent IPR, the Board held all of the claims of the patent unpatentable due to these same prior art references.
  • The examiner’s statement of reasons for allowing the challenged patent was that the claims were directed to limitations that appeared in both the currently challenged claims and the claims found unpatentable in the grandparent patent.

As the director noted, the overlap between the claim limitations in the [...]

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No Need for Unnecessary RPI Determinations

The US Patent & Trademark Office Director partially vacated the Patent Trial & Appeal Board’s real-party-in-interest (RPI) determination because that determination was not necessary to resolve the underlying proceeding. Unified Patents, LLC v. MemoryWeb, LLC, IPR2021-01413, Paper 76 (PTAB May 22, 2023) (Vidal, Dir.)

Unified Patents filed a petition requesting inter partes review (IPR) of a patent owned by MemoryWeb. In its petition, Unified certified that it was the only RPI. Prior to institution, both parties briefed whether Unified should have identified two third parties as RPIs under 35 U.S.C. § 312(a)(2). In its institution decision, the Board declined to determine whether the third parties were RPIs because there was no allegation in the proceeding of a time bar or estoppel based on there being an unnamed RPI, and therefore the proceedings would not have created a time bar or estoppel under 35 U.S.C. § 315 even if the third parties were included as RPIs.

After institution, MemoryWeb continued to argue that the Board should terminate the proceeding because of Unified’s alleged failure to name the third parties as RPIs while also arguing that in the alternative, the Board should find the two third parties estopped from challenging the validity of the claims at issue in two different IPRs covering the same patent. The Board then issued an order identifying the third parties as RPIs, explaining that it was now appropriate to determine whether the two third parties were RPIs “[b]ecause the issue of Section 315(e) estoppel has been put before us [as relevant to the subsequent IPR challenges filed by the third parties], and we now have a complete factual record available to fully address the RPI question, and to avoid unnecessary prejudice to Patent Owner.” The Board also explained that it was now necessary to determine whether the third parties were RPIs in the case at hand to determine whether they would be estopped in a subsequent proceeding.

Unified filed a request for Director review of the Board’s RPI determination. Unified argued that the panel erred by issuing a non-binding advisory opinion on RPI that prejudiced the third parties by prejudging the RPI issue without their participation and where the decision could bind them in their later-filed proceedings. Unified also cited the Board’s precedential decision in SharkNinja v. iRobot, arguing that the Board should not resolve an RPI issue when it would not create a time bar or estoppel under 35 U.S.C. § 315 in the proceeding.

The Director concluded that the Board can and should determine the RPIs or real parties in privity in a proceeding where that determination may impact the underlying proceeding, including (but not limited to) a time bar under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) or estoppel under 35 U.S.C. § 315(e) that might apply. However, the Director determined that such was not the situation here since determining the RPI issue was not necessary to resolve the proceeding. The Director, therefore, vacated the Board’s RPI determinations.




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No Snipe Hunting: AIA Adherence Means No Interference (Proceedings)

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit concluded that patents and applications that have only ever contained claims with an effective filing date after March 16, 2013—i.e., pure America Invents Act (AIA) patents—may not be subjected to an interference proceeding by the US Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) Director. SNIPR Techs. Ltd. v. Rockefeller Univ., Case No. 2022-1260 (Fed. Cir. July 14, 2023) (Chen, Wallach, Hughes, JJ.)

SNIPR Technologies owns a family of five patents directed to methods of selectively killing bacteria using clustered regulatory interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) gene editing. SNIPR was involved in an interference proceeding with Rockefeller University, which filed a patent application for technology also directed to selectively killing bacteria. The SNIPR patents claimed priority to a Patent Cooperation Treaty application filed on May 3, 2016, thus placing the SNIPR patents squarely within the scope of the AIA. The Rockefeller application claimed priority to, among other things, a US provisional application filed on February 7, 2013, making the Rockefeller application a pure pre-AIA application. The Patent Trial & Appeal Board initially declared an interference between claims 20 to 33 of the Rockefeller application and all claims of the SNIPR patents. The Board ultimately identified Rockefeller as the senior party and canceled all of SNIPR’s claims. SNIPR appealed.

The issue before the Federal Circuit was whether the Board had the authority to cancel SNIPR’s pure AIA claims for lack of invention priority under pre-AIA § 102(g), and more broadly, whether pure AIA patents may, as a matter of law, be part of an interference proceeding.

First, the Federal Circuit examined the plain language of AIA § 3(n) and the statutory purpose and history of the AIA. The Court reasoned that “AIA § 3(n) makes clear that [unless Congress provides otherwise,] only pure pre-AIA and mixed patents may be part of an interference.” As the Court stated, AIA § 3(n)(1) does not permit the AIA’s amendments to apply retroactively and the AIA repealed the statutory grant of power to hear interferences (pre-AIA § 135), instead providing for derivation proceedings.

Next, the Federal Circuit addressed Rockefeller’s and the Director’s arguments that the statutory language of pre-AIA § 135(a) authorizes the Director to declare an interference for “any unexpired patent”—including unexpired pure AIA patents. Unpersuaded, the Court concluded that pre-AIA § 135(a), read in conjunction with the AIA, excludes pure AIA patents for the following reasons:

  • The AIA replaced interference proceedings with derivation proceedings.
  • The AIA deleted all other references to interferences.
  • The AIA repealed the first-to-invent system of patentability, rendering interference proceedings superfluous.
  • Permitting interferences for pure AIA patents would subject AIA patents to interferences “for over twenty years after the AIA’s effective date,” which would be contrary to the purpose of the AIA—to implement the first-to-file system of patentability.

Moreover, such a statutory construction would belie AIA § 3(n)(2), which expressly allows for interferences for mixed patents (i.e., patents and applications that contain, or contained at any time, at least one claim with [...]

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Pending Appeal Does Not Divest Board of Statutory Authority to Institute IPRs

In a case involving sua sponte review, the Director of the US Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) vacated an inter partes review (IPR) decision denying institution, found that the Patent Trial & Appeal Board had statutory authority to institute IPR review of a claim that had been previously found invalid by a district court under 35 U.S.C. § 101 (but under appeal), and remanded the proceeding for the Board to consider whether discretionary denial was appropriate. Volvo Penta of the Americas, LLC v. Brunswick Corp., IPR2022-01366, -01367, -01368, -01369, -01424 (PTO May 2, 2023) (Vidal, Dir.).

Brunswick owns several patents related to marine vessels. Volvo filed IPR petitions challenging the patents, which the Board ultimately denied. Prior to the Board’s decision, the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia determined that claim 1 in each of the challenged patents was directed to patent-ineligible subject matter and thus was invalid under § 101. In denying institution, the Board concluded that it lacked authority to institute the IPRs because the challenged claims were no longer in effect and the America Invents Act (AIA) only permits a petitioner to challenge a claim, noting that “when given its plain and ordinary meaning, § 311(b) provides that only claims that are in effect may be annulled.” Although Brunswick appealed the district court’s decision, the Board determined that the challenged claims were finally adjudicated. Thus, the Board lacked authority to institute the requested IPR. The Board also determined that the multi-factor Fintiv analysis for discretionary denial under 35 U.S.C. § 214(a) was inapplicable here in view of the district court’s invalidity finding.

The Director reviewed the Board’s decision sua sponte and vacated the Board’s institution decision with instructions to analyze Fintiv factors 1 through 5 in view of the parallel district court proceeding.

The Director first addressed the Board’s § 311(b) analysis. The Director concluded that in finding the district court’s invalidity determination to be a final adjudication, the Board appeared to have borrowed from collateral estoppel principles. The Director found, however, that these principles do not apply to § 311(b) nor was there any assertion that Volvo was collaterally estopped from pursuing IPRs. The Director also determined that the challenged claims were not fully adjudicated since the district court’s decision was subject to further judicial review. Thus, the Director found that the Board had statutory authority to institute the IPRs.

Next, the Director addressed the Board’s Fintiv analysis, finding that the Board improperly interpreted Fintiv as limited to its exercise of discretion in the context of ongoing parallel district court litigation where final judgment has not yet been entered. The Director explained that the Fintiv analysis applied where, as here, the claims remain subject to further review on appeal. The Director instructed the Board to evaluate the Fintiv factors on remand and instructed that if the Board determines that these factors favor discretion to deny institution, the Board should then consider whether the case on the merits is compelling (consistent with the
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Claim Duality: Multiple Dependent Claims Can Be Both Patentable and Unpatentable

Addressing, for the first time, the issue of patentability of multiple dependent claims under 35 U.S.C. § 112, fifth paragraph, the Director of the US Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) granted rehearing and modified the Patent Trial & Appeal Board’s (Board) Final Written Decision after finding that the patentability of a multiple dependent claim should be considered separately as to each of the claims from which it depends. Nested Bean, Inc. v. Big Beings US Pty. Ltd. et al., IPR2020-01234 (PTO Feb. 24, 2023) (Vidal, Dir.) (precedential).

Nested filed a petition for inter partes review challenging claims 1 through 18 of a patent owned by Big Beings. Claims 1 and 2 were independent, and claims 3 to 16 were multiple dependent claims, which depended directly from either claim 1 or 2. The Board granted institution and ultimately issued a Final Written Decision finding that Nested did not establish that claims 1, 17 and 18 were unpatentable, but that Nested had established that claims 2 through 16 were unpatentable.

Big Beings filed a Request for Director review, noting that each of claims 3 to 16 were multiple dependent claims that depended from both claims 1 and 2. Big Beings argued that because the Board found that Nested failed to show that claim 1 was unpatentable, the Board should have also found that Nested failed to show that claims 3 through 16, as depending from claim 1, were unpatentable. The Director granted review.

35 U.S.C. § 112, fifth paragraph, states, in relevant part, “[a] multiple dependent claim shall be construed to incorporate by reference all the limitations of the particular claim in relation to which it is being considered.” Big Beings argued that the statute requires the Board to separately consider the patentability of alternative dependencies of a multiple dependent claim. Nested responded by arguing that the statute should be read so that if any version of a multiple dependent claim is found unpatentable over the prior art, then all versions of the claim should be found unpatentable.

The Director found that this was an issue of first impression. Relying on 37 C.F.R. § 1.75(c) and 35 U.S.C. § 282, the Director concluded that “a multiple dependent claim is the equivalent of several single dependent claims. Thus, in the same way that the unpatentability of multiple single dependent claims would each rise or fall separately, so too should the dependent claims covered by a multiple dependent claim.” The Director also noted that the Federal Circuit in Dow Chemical and Dayco Products explained that “not addressing claim validity on an individual basis is an error and contravenes 35 U.S.C. 282[.]” The PTO Director concluded, quoting the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP), that “a multiple dependent claim must be considered in the same manner as a plurality of single dependent claims.”




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Compelling Clarity: PTO Director Explains Compelling Merits Test

US Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) Director Katherine K. Vidal issued a precedential opinion clarifying the standard under which the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (Board) can institute on an inter partes review (IPR) petition despite the Fintiv factors militating toward denial. CommScope Techs. LLC v. Dali Wireless, Inc., IPR2022-01242 (PTO Feb. 27, 2023) (Vidal, Dir.) (precedential).

This opinion follows the Director’s Interim Procedure for Discretionary Denials memorandum (Guidance Memo) and her opinion in OpenSky Indus. v. VLSI Tech. In the guidance memo, the Director explained that when there is “compelling evidence of unpatentability,” the Board may decline to exercise its discretion to deny IPR institution.

In this case, Dali Wireless sued CommScope in the district court, alleging infringement of its patent. CommScope filed a petition to institute an IPR proceeding against the asserted patent. The Board granted the petition and instituted an IPR proceeding while the district court litigation was ongoing.

In granting the petition, the Board acknowledged that it would normally perform a Fintiv analysis to determine whether it should deny the petition in light of the parallel district court proceeding. However, considering the Guidance Memo and the “compelling invalidity challenge” presented by the petitioner, the Board skipped the Fintiv analysis and instituted on the petition. The Director instituted sua sponte review.

Recognizing some ambiguity in both OpenSky and the guidance memo, the Director made her decision precedential to clarify:

My Guidance Memo states that “the PTAB will not deny institution based on Fintiv if there is compelling evidence of unpatentability.” Although I now recognize that this instruction could be read to allow for a compelling merits determination as a substitute for a Fintiv analysis, that was not my intent. By that instruction, I intended for PTAB panels to only consider compelling merits if they first determined that Fintiv factors 1–5 favored a discretionary denial . . . . In circumstances where . . . the Board’s analysis of Fintiv factors 1–5 favors denial of institution; the Board shall then assess compelling merits. In doing so, the Board must provide reasoning sufficient to allow the parties to challenge that finding and sufficient to allow for review of the Board’s decision.

A determination of whether the petition presents a compelling merits case for invalidity requires a merits case that meets a higher standard than the “reasonable likelihood” test required by 35 U.S.C. § 314(a).

The Director found that the Board’s decision was deficient in both parts of the analysis. The Board did not perform any analysis of the Fintiv factors but instead went straight to a determination of whether the petition presented a compelling invalidity challenge. In connection with that determination, the Board failed to provide any reasoning that explained why it found the merits case presented in the petition compelling.

Finding that the Board’s reasoning was conclusory, the Director vacated the Board’s decision to institute IPR review and remanded for further proceedings consistent with her decision.

Practice Note: Less [...]

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Review Delayed Is Not Review Denied

Considering whether the US Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) Director must complete review of the Patent Trial & Appeal Board’s (Board) inter partes review (IPR) decision within the statutory deadline for a final written decision, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit concluded that the statute imposes no such requirement. CyWee Group Ltd. v. Google LLC et al., Case Nos. 20-1565, -1567 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 8, 2023) (Prost, Taranto, Chen, JJ.).

In 2018, Google filed two IPR petitions challenging certain claims of CyWee’s patents. The Board issued its final written decisions in January 2020, determining that all challenged claims were unpatentable for obviousness. CyWee appealed to the Federal Circuit in March 2020. In addition to challenging the patentability decision, CyWee challenged the appointment of Board administrative patent judges (APJs) as unconstitutional in view of the Appointments Clause. In March 2021, the Court affirmed the Board’s decisions and rejected CyWee’s constitutional challenge. The Court issued its mandate on June 10, 2020.

Eleven days later, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in United States v. Arthrex, Inc., holding that APJs’ power to render final patentability decisions unreviewable by an accountable principal officer gave rise to an Appointments Clause violation but this violation could be remedied by, among other things, remanding to the acting PTO Director to decide to rehear the case. In response to a request from CyWee, the Federal Circuit recalled the mandate and remanded “for the limited purpose of allowing CyWee the opportunity to request Director rehearing of the final written decisions,” and required CyWee to inform the Court within 14 days of any decision denying rehearing. On remand, the Commissioner for Patents denied rehearing and ordered that the already-issued final written decisions were final decisions of the PTO. CyWee appealed.

CyWee contended that the post-Arthrex, mandated review by the PTO Director was untimely—and thus violative of due process—because the PTO Director did not have the ability to review the institution decision and final written decision within their respective three-month and one-year statutory deadlines. The Federal Circuit disagreed, calling CyWee’s contentions “meritless.” Rather, the Court found that because the PTO Director had permissibly delegated to the Commissioner for Patents authority to render institution and final decisions to the Board, those decisions were timely so long as the PTO Director’s delegees rendered them within the statutorily prescribed periods. By contrast, the PTO Director’s final review authority—a constitutional necessity born from Arthrex—has no similar statutory deadline.

CyWee also argued that the PTO Director’s later review was too late to satisfy a general requirement that the PTO Director consider the effect of regulations on the PTO’s ability to timely complete instituted IPRs. The Federal Circuit rejected this argument too, finding that even if the statute imposed a general timeliness requirement that was subject to judicial review, nothing about the process afforded to CyWee would have violated such a requirement.

With a different spin on the timeliness issue, CyWee also argued that the Board’s extension [...]

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Contingent Statement Doesn’t Unequivocally Abandon Defense of Challenged Claims

The Director of the US Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) initiated a sua sponte review of the Patent Trial & Appeal Board’s (Board) adverse judgments in multiple related inter partes review (IPR) proceedings. The PTO Director ultimately ordered that the judgments be vacated and remanded for further consideration. Apple Inc. v. Zipit Wireless, Inc., IPR2021-01124; -01125; -01126; -01129 (Dec. 21, 2022) (Vidal, Dir.)

Apple filed six petitions for IPR, all of which were instituted and assigned to the same panel of Administrative Patent Judges. After institution, Zipit filed responses to two of the IPRs, but not the other four companion IPRs. The Board held a hearing in the two IPRs for which Zipit filed responses. At the end of the hearing, Zipit’s counsel was asked with reference to the four companion IPRs whether Zipit was “not contesting if a final written decision or adverse judgment was entered with respect to those IPRs.” The counsel responded, “correct . . . if the board determines that [Apple has] met their burden of proof with respect to those claims Zipit hasn’t filed any opposition.” Based on this exchange, the Board determined that Zipit abandoned the contests and entered adverse judgments.

The PTO Director initiated review under the interim process for Director review §§ 13, 22, which allows sua sponte Director review, explaining that notice would be given to parties of the proceedings if such a review was initiated. Upon review, the PTO Director did not consider the counsel’s statements to be an “unequivocal abandonment of the contest of these proceedings.” In an IPR, a petitioner has the “burden of proving a proposition of unpatentability by a preponderance of the evidence” and the “burden from the onset to show with particularity why the patent it challenges is unpatentable.” The PTO Director’s interpretation of Zipit’s statements was that “non-opposition was contingent on the Board determining that [Apple] met its burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the challenged claims are unpatentable.”

The PTO Director thus vacated the Board’s adverse judgments and remanded the proceedings to the panel to issue either an order clarifying whether Zipit indeed abandoned the contest or a final written decision addressing the patentability of the challenged claims.




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Court Uncorks New Way to Serve Trademark Complaints

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that Section 1051(e) of the Lanham Act permits a plaintiff in a district court case to serve a complaint against a foreign defendant via the Director of the US Patent & Trademark Office (PTO). San Antonio Winery, Inc. v. Jiaxing Micarose Trade Co., Ltd., Case No. 21-56036 (9th Cir. Nov. 14, 2022) (Siler, Callahan, Thomas, JJ.)

San Antonio Winery is a Los Angeles-based winery best known for its Stella Rosa brand of wines. The winery is owned and operated by the Riboli family. San Antonio has registered the trademarks RIBOLI and RIBOLI FAMILY, which it has used since at least 1998 to market its wines and other products.

Jiaxing is a Chinese company that has sold products using the Riboli name. In 2018, Jiaxing registered the mark RIBOLI for use in connection with articles of clothing and shoes. In 2020, Jiaxing applied to register the mark RIBOLI for use with additional types of products, including wine pourers, bottle stands, containers, cocktail shakers, dishware and various other kitchen and household items.

After learning that Jiaxing was using the Riboli name to sell products in the United States, San Antonio filed a complaint asserting Lanham Act claims for trademark infringement, trademark dilution and false designation of origin, as well as related state-law claims. San Antonio also sought an injunction prohibiting Jiaxing from using the RIBOLI mark in connection with its products, an order canceling Jiaxing’s 2018 registration of the RIBOLI mark, and an order either directing Jiaxing to abandon its 2020 application to register RIBOLI for additional uses or prohibiting the PTO from granting the application.

Because Jiaxing is a Chinese company, San Antonio’s service of process was governed by rules for serving parties abroad, such as by the Hague Convention. Concerned with the amount of time it might take to effect service under the Hague Convention, San Antonio instead sought to serve Jiaxing under Section 1051(e) of the Lanham Act, which applies to foreign domiciliaries who apply to register a trademark. Section 1051(e) states that if a trademark applicant is not domiciled in the United States, the applicant may designate the name and address of a person in the United States who may be served with notices or processes in proceedings affecting the mark. If the designated person cannot be found at the address, the notices or processes may be served on the PTO Director.

Seeking to avail itself of Section 1051(e), San Antonio inquired whether the US-based lawyer who had represented Jiaxing in connection with its trademark applications would accept service on Jiaxing’s behalf. When the lawyer did not respond, San Antonio served the district court complaint on the PTO Director, who then sent a letter to Jiaxing confirming service of process was effectuated pursuant to Section 1051(e).

After Jiaxing did not appear to defend itself in the action, San Antonio filed a motion for default judgment. The district court denied the motion on the ground that Jiaxing had not [...]

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