Enough is Enough

In Zetec, Inc. v, Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC, IPR2014-00384, Paper 10 (July 23, 2014), the Board denied the institution of inter partes review because there were too many grounds.  The Board observed that “[t]he Petition lists, in a summary table, 68 grounds of unpatentability that rely on one or more of fourteen references” and thus the Petition presents “no fewer than 127 asserted grounds of unpatentability.”

The Board quoted from the Office Patent Trial Practice Guide:

Although parties are given wide latitude in how they present their cases, the Board’s experience is that the presentation of an overwhelming number of issues tends to detract from the argument being presented . . . . Thus, parties should . . . focus on concise, well-organized, easy-to-follow arguments supported by readily identifiable evidence of record.

Office Patent Trial Practice Guide, 77 Fed. Reg. 48,756, 48,763 (Aug. 14, 2012).  The Board concluded that the Petition did not provide sufficient grounds as required by 37 C.F.R. §§ 42.22(a)(2), 42.104(b)(4),(5), and further that it placed a significant and unfair burden on the patent owner to respond to “underdeveloped arguments for numerous asserted grounds.”  Finally the Board found that the petition “would place a significant burden on the Board and contravene the efficient administration of the Office.”

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About Bryan Wheelock

Education J.D., Washington University in St. Louis B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering, Duke University Bryan Wheelock's practice includes preparation and prosecution of patent and trademark applications and drafting of intellectual property agreements, including non-compete agreements. He has brought and defended lawsuits in federal and state courts relating to intellectual property and has participated in seizures of counterfeit and infringing goods. Bryan prepares and prosecutes U.S. and foreign patent applications for medical devices, mechanical and electromechanical devices, manufacturing machinery and processes, metal alloys and other materials. He also does a substantial amount of patentability searching, trademark availability searching and patent and trademark infringement studies. In addition to his practice at Harness Dickey, Bryan is an Adjunct Professor at Washington University School of Law and Washington University School of Engineering.