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posted by janrinok on Wednesday April 25 2018, @11:02AM   Printer-friendly
from the now,-let's-look-at-some-of-those-dodgy-claims dept.

World IP Review reports

Inter partes reviews (IPRs) do not violate the US Constitution and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board has authority to invalidate patents.

This is the holding of the US Supreme Court, which handed down its decision in Oil States Energy Services v Greene's Energy Group today.

In June last year, the court granted[1] Oil States' petition for certiorari.

Oil States, a provider of services to oil and gas companies, had claimed that the IPR process at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) violates the right to a jury in an Article III court (a federal court established under Article III of the US Constitution).

The service provider added that although in certain situations non-Article III tribunals may exercise jurisdiction over disputes involving "public rights", this doesn't apply to IPRs because patents are private property rights.

The Supreme Court asked the government to weigh in--Noel Francisco, the acting solicitor general, submitted a brief[1] on behalf of the US government in October 2017.

"Consistent with longstanding practice, the Patent Act authorises USPTO examiners within the executive branch to determine in the first instance whether patents should be granted. That allocation of authority is clearly constitutional", he said.

Siding with the US government, in a 7-2 opinion, the Supreme Court rejected Oil States' argument and found that patents are "public" rights, not "private" in an IPR context.

"The primary distinction between IPR and the initial grant of a patent is that IPR occurs after the patent has issued. But that distinction does not make a difference here", said the court.

[1] Paywall after first article, apparently.

Also at Ars Technica.


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  • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Wednesday April 25 2018, @06:12PM (1 child)

    by tangomargarine (667) on Wednesday April 25 2018, @06:12PM (#671753)

    No? So if I owned a plane, and I was complying with all necessary safety regulations, you still think you have a right to stop me from flying it? Why?

    Erm...isn't one of the safety regulations that you have to be a licensed pilot? Ipso facto...

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  • (Score: 2) by Arik on Wednesday April 25 2018, @06:48PM

    by Arik (4543) on Wednesday April 25 2018, @06:48PM (#671778) Journal
    "Erm...isn't one of the safety regulations that you have to be a licensed pilot?"

    Yes indeed, which makes that a corner case that's mostly useful as a hypothetical.

    If you think that there is a right involved here, then the licensing regime can only be legitimized by that public safety argument, so if it becomes divorced from it, it loses legitimacy.

    If the licensing is done in a non-discriminatory manner, if it's truly concerned only with safety, then there's no reason to violate it and many to follow it, but if that changed and licenses were being denied as a matter of course, if you had to have 'juice' to get a pilots license (the way you have to have 'juice' to get a firearms license in places like NYC) then it might well become a legitimate act of civil disobedience to fly without a license.

    But if you think there is no right involved, if flying is a *privilege* which the legislature may issue or deny at their prerogative and entirely as they see fit, then that would not be the case, and the notion of 'legitimate civil disobedience' wouldn't even make sense.
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