Supreme Court Upholds ABA-Supported Patent Review Process

The Supreme Court today upheld a patent review process used by the Patent and Trademark Office to review existing patents for quality to determine whether they should remain in place. ABA and other trade groups had submitted a brief in the case urging the court to uphold this process, which provides PTO with a tool to protect businesses from patent trolls that file frivolous lawsuits asserting violations of low-quality patents that should not have been issued.

In a 6-2 decision, the court affirmed in Cuozzo Speed Technologies v. Lee that Congress intended to create an “inter partes review” process by which third parties could seek patent reviews with PTO determinations that would be “final and non-appealable.” It also found that the particular interpretive approach PTO directed the review boards to use was reasonable.

“[T]he financial services industry has a particular interest in the integrity of the [inter partes review] procedure,” ABA and other groups said in their brief this spring. “Since their creation, IPRs…have been a useful and efficient mechanism to cancel claims in low-quality patents.”