Wednesday, February 19, 2014

35 U.S.C. § 315(b) IPR Time Bar Not Limited to Concurrent Litigation

The Board denied the petitioner's request for rehearing of an earlier decision not to institute inter partes review because "the Petition . . . was not filed timely within the statutory period of 35 U.S.C. § 315(b)." The petitioner previously argued that the petition was timely because "a petition within one year of 'any complaint' . . . nullifies the effect of the earlier . . . complaint." On rehearing, the petitioner "present[ed] selected segments from the legislative history to buttress its argument that the statute only applies to concurrent litigation . . . . Petitioner also asserts, for the first time, that the statute 'is plainly ambiguous.' . . . Contrary to Petitioner’s new argument, even if Congress intended to reduce issues in district courts, this does not overcome the plain meaning involved in Congress’s carefully balanced statutory scheme that applies the time bar to 'a complaint.' . . . Although Congress intended to create a cost-efficient alternative to district court litigation, it does not follow that the time bar only applies to concurrent litigation."

Petition for Inter Partes Review by Apple Inc., IPR2013-00348 (PTAB February 12, 2014, Order) (Easthom, APJ)

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