Tech reviews

Apple, other major tech firms again lose lawsuit challenging US patent-review policy


Apple and other major tech companies have failed to convince a California federal court that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office unlawfully implemented a rule that reduced the number of patent-validity reviews the office considers.

Blake Brittain for Reuters:

U.S. District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose said late Sunday that the USPTO was not required to hold a notice-and-comment period before creating the rule, rejecting a lawsuit from Apple, Google, Intel, Cisco, and Edwards Lifesciences or a second time.

The USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board conducts inter partes reviews (IPR), in which it reconsiders the validity of patents by request. The process is often used by big tech companies that are frequently targeted with patent lawsuits to contest patents they are accused of infringing.

An internal rule gave the agency’s judges greater discretion to deny IPR petitions. Tech companies sued the USPTO in the California federal court in 2020, arguing the rule undermined the role IPR plays in “protecting a strong patent system” and violated federal law.

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MacDailyNews Note: The case is Apple Inc v. Vidal, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 5:20-cv-06128.

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