Following from the recent Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) AIA Trial Roundtables, the USPTO has published a notice in the Federal Register seeking written input about the trials. The questions cover a variety of topics including claim construction, management of concurrent proceedings, and discovery. The list below has been extracted from the Request for Comments document linked at the bottom of this post.
Claim Construction Standard: 1. Under what circumstances, if any, should the Board decline to construe a claim in an unexpired patent in accordance with its broadest reasonable construction in light of the specification of the patent in which it appears?
Motion to Amend: 2. What modifications, if any, should be made to the Board’s practice regarding motions to amend?
Patent Owner Preliminary Response: 3. Should new testimonial evidence be permitted in a Patent Owner Preliminary Response? If new testimonial evidence is permitted, how can the Board meet the statutory deadline to determine whether to institute a proceeding while ensuring fair treatment of all parties?
Obviousness: 4. Under what circumstances should the Board permit discovery of evidence of non-obviousness held by the petitioner, for example, evidence of commercial success for a product of the petitioner? What limits should be placed on such discovery to ensure that the trial is completed by the statutory deadline?
Real Party in Interest:
5. Should a patent owner be able to raise a challenge regarding a real party in interest at any time during a trial?
Additional Discovery: 6. Are the factors enumerated in the Board’s decision in Garmin v. Cuozzo, IPR2012-00001, appropriate to consider in deciding whether to grant a request for additional discovery? What additional factors, if any, should be considered?
Multiple Proceedings: 7. How should multiple proceedings before the USPTO involving the same patent be coordinated? Multiple proceedings before the USPTO include, for example: (i) two or more separate AIA trials; (ii) an AIA trial and a reexamination proceeding; or (iii) an AIA trial and a reissue proceeding.
8. What factors should be considered in deciding whether to stay, transfer, consolidate, or terminate an additional proceeding involving the same patent after a petition for AIA trial has been filed?
9. Under what circumstances, if any, should a copending reexamination proceeding or reissue proceeding be stayed in favor of an AIA trial? If a stay is entered, under what circumstances should the stay be lifted?
10. Under what circumstances, if any, should an AIA trial be stayed in favor of a copending reexamination proceeding or reissue proceeding? If a stay is entered, under what circumstances should the stay be lifted?
11. Under what circumstances, if any, should a copending reexamination proceeding or reissue proceeding be consolidated with an AIA trial?
12. How should consolidated proceedings be handled before the USPTO? Consolidated proceedings include, for example: (i) consolidated AIA trials; (ii) an AIA trial consolidated with a reexamination proceeding; or (iii) an AIA trial consolidated with a reissue proceeding.
13. Under what circumstances, if any, should a petition for an AIA trial be rejected because the same or substantially the same prior art or arguments previously were presented to the USPTO in a different petition for an AIA trial, in a reexamination proceeding or in a reissue proceeding?
Extension of 1 Year Period to Issue Final Determination:
14. What circumstances should constitute a finding of good cause to extend the 1-year period for the Board to issue a final determination in an AIA trial?
Oral Hearing: 15. Under what circumstances, if any, should live testimony be permitted at the oral hearing?
16. What changes, if any, should be made to the format of the oral hearing?
General: 17. What other changes can and should be madein AIA trial proceedings? For example, should changes be made to the Board’s approach to instituting petitions, page limits, or request for rehearing practice?
Download a copy of the Request for Comments document here, or view the Federal Register entry here.