America Invents Act—Inter Partes Review

Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC, No. 16-712

The America Invents Act, passed by Congress in 2011, authorizes third parties—including alleged patent infringers—to ask the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to review existing patents, which may be canceled if any patent claim is found to have been anticipated by prior art or to have failed the Patent Act’s standard for obviousness.  This adversarial process is called inter partes review.  Today, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether inter partes review violates Article III of the U.S. Constitution (by extinguishing private property rights without an Article III forum) or the Seventh Amendment (by adjudicating the claims without a jury).  This case will be expected to generate considerable attention when it is argued and decided next term, as the stakes for the intellectual property community are considerable.