PTAB / Supreme Court

Oral Arguments heard by Supreme Court in Cuozzo Speed

Published April 26, 2016

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in Cuozzo Speed Technologies v. Lee, a case that challenges the appropriateness of broadest reasonable interpretation (BRI) in IPR proceedings and the judicial reviewability of institution decisions.

The majority of the time was spent on the BRI question. On this issue, the leanings of the justices appeared to be influenced by whether they view the IPR proceeding as (1) a procedure to fix bad patents issued by the PTO or (2) an alternative to patent litigation.  Justice Breyer, expressing skepticism about the quality of patents issued by the PTO, appeared to be in the first camp, while Chief Justice Roberts, expressing concern about competing proceedings and claim construction standards, appeared to show more interest in the second.  A few quotes from these justices are provided below:

Justice Breyer:  “The Patent Office has been issuing billions of patents that shouldn’t have been issued.  I overstate, but only some. …  And so what we’re trying to do with this proceeding is to tell the Office, you’ve been doing too much too fast. Go back and let people who are hurt by this come in and get rid of those patents that shouldn’t have been issued.”

Chief Justice Roberts:  “So if the district court interprets the patent, is that binding on the PTO?” [Answer: “No”] And if the PTO interprets the patent, that’s not binding on the district court?”  [Answer: “That’s right.”]  “I’m sorry. It just seems to me that that’s a bizarre way to … decide a legal question.  I mean, how does it work?  Whoever gets to the judgment first …”

A decision in this case is expected before the Court recesses in June.

Oral Argument Transcript in Cuozzo Speed


Posted on 04/26/2016 by Deakin T. Lauer