Features

The problems with the PTAB

By Adam Mossoff and David Lund

Five years of Patent Trial and Appeal Board proceedings show a flawed and biased administrative tribunal

Five years after the America Invents Act established the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), it is time to evaluate how this has negatively affected the patent system. The PTAB is an administrative tribunal that runs three new processes for invalidating patents: post-grant review, inter partes review and the temporary programme for review of covered business method patents. By design, the PTAB cancels property rights that the USPTO previously granted. According to its proponents, this was necessary to remove so-called ‘bad’ patents that had been erroneously issued by the USPTO. As a consequence, proponents argued that the PTAB would strengthen the patent system in its essential role of driving the innovation economy.

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