Don’t Let Intellectual Property Infringement Derail Your Business
As a business owner, you understand the importance of protecting your intellectual property (IP)). That’s why you copyrighted your creative output, patented your technology, trademarked your logo and went to great lengths to guard your trade secrets. Unfortunately, that’s not always enough. As far too many individuals and businesses have discovered, there are unscrupulous actors who seek to profit from other parties’ hard work. If you discover that someone is misappropriating your protected IP, then you need to act quickly to minimize the damage done to your reputation and your financial interests. There are many ways another party can infringe on your IP, including the following:
- An unauthorized company uses your logo on its products without permission.
- An unapproved entity violates your patent to manufacture and sell a product.
- Your copyrighted material, such as music or articles and books, is used without permission.
- Another company has illegally acquired your trade secret.
Litigation And The Patent Trial And Appeal Board
IP litigation before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) involves disputes related to patents and trademarks, which are resolved through administrative proceedings rather than traditional court litigation. PTAB, a part of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), offers mechanisms for resolving certain IP disputes in a more streamlined and specialized manner. Below is an overview.
Types Of Proceedings Before PTAB
- Inter partes review (IPR): This proceeding allows parties other than the patent holder to challenge the validity of a granted patent’s claims. The challenger presents prior art (existing relevant information) to demonstrate that the patent claims are unpatentable due to lack of novelty or obviousness.
- Post-grant review (PGR): PGR allows challenges to newly issued patents within nine months of their issuance. Similar to IPR, it aims to assess the validity of patent claims based on various grounds.
- Covered business method review (CBM): CBM reviews are specific to certain types of business method patents and focus on assessing patent eligibility, invalidity and compliance with patent laws.
- Trademark trial and appeal board (TTAB) proceedings: While not exclusively part of PTAB, TTAB is within the USPTO and handles trademark disputes, including oppositions and cancellation proceedings, which are administrative processes for challenging trademark registrations.
Key Aspects Of PTAB Proceedings
- Specialization: PTAB proceedings are conducted by administrative judges with expertise in patent and trademark law, providing specialized knowledge and efficient resolution of IP disputes.
- Evidentiary process: Parties present their arguments and evidence through written submissions, including briefs, declarations and exhibits. Oral hearings may also be held for additional arguments and expert testimony.
- Standard of proof: The standard for invalidating patent claims in PTAB proceedings is lower than in district court litigation. Claims are assessed based on a “preponderance of the evidence.”
- Amendment process: Unlike district court litigation, patent owners in PTAB proceedings can propose claim amendments to address challenges, providing an opportunity to save or modify the patent.
- Appeals: PTAB decisions can be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which specializes in patent law.
Benefits Of PTAB Proceedings
- Speed: PTAB proceedings often resolve disputes more quickly than traditional litigation.
- Specialized expertise: Decisions are made by administrative judges with patent and trademark expertise.
- Efficiency: Parties can consolidate related disputes, reducing the burden of multiple litigations.
However, the decision to pursue PTAB proceedings should be made considering factors like the strength of the case, the potential impact on existing litigations, and the specific goals of the parties involved. Consulting with experienced IP attorneys can help navigate the best approach for addressing IP disputes before the PTAB.
Call To Discuss Your IP Litigation Issue
We are licensed to practice before the USPTO. We have represented clients from a variety of industries in IP litigation. Schedule a free strategy consultation online or call 973-559-5355 to discuss your unique situation with us.