World IP Review reports [worldipreview.com]
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 [worldipreview.com] 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 [worldipreview.com] 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.
 Paywall after first article, apparently.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, Neil Gorsuch dissented. John Roberts joined the dissent.