Assignment during inter partes reexam removes ability of former patent owner to appeal

Federal Circuit dismisses appeal brought by former owner of patent. After the Examiner rejected all claims during inter partes reexamination, Vaillancourt (who was the patent owner) appealed those rejections to the Board. While the appeal was pending, he assigned the patent to a third party.

Michael J. Vaillancourt v. Becton Dickinson & Company, __ F.3d __ (Fed. Cir. Apr. 24, 2014) (RADER, Linn, Taranto) (No. 2013-1408, PTO) (2 of 5 stars)

After the Board affirmed the rejections, Vaillancourt appealed. The Federal Circuit dismissed the appeal because Vaillancourt has no cause of action under 35 U.S.C. sec. 141: "The unambiguous language of [section] 141 provides that a patent owner alone can appeal a final decision in an inter partes reexamination to this court." Slip op. at 4. Section 141 does not allow the patent owner to delegate to a third party its authority to appeal.