PTAB Time-Bar Ruling Provides Additional Protection to Patent Owners

Owners of patents now have a little more protection against claims of infringement, thanks to a recent decision by the Precedential Opinion Panel (POP) of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

In the case of GoPro, Inc. v. 360Heros, Inc., IPR2018-01754, Paper 38, the POP held that “service of a pleading asserting a claim alleging infringement triggers the one-year time period for a petitioner to file a petition under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b), even where the serving party lacks standing to sue or where the pleading is otherwise deficient.”

In other words, the service of any infringement complaint triggers the one-year statute of limitations on an inter-parties review—with no exceptions.

This is the case even if the initial complaint is served in one jurisdiction and the second complaint is served in another, as was the case in GoPro (initial service in California, the second complaint in Delaware).

This is good news for patent owners, as it means that entities may not file premature (or frivolous) claims without consequences.

While the POP ruling has not been reviewed by the Federal Circuit, the POP did cite to a recent Federal Circuit case in making its decision, Click-To-Call Techs., LP v. Ingenio, Inc., 899 F.3d 1321, 1330, 1336 (Fed. Cir. 2018) (en banc in part). Patent owners should feel more secure with this additional protection against frivolous claims, making owning a patent safer and more worthwhile.

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Mark A. Goodman, Esq.