Earlier this week, in Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v. Lee, 579 U.S. __ (2016), the Supreme Court issued its first decision reviewing post-grant proceedings created by the America Invents Act (AIA) and affirmed the Federal Circuit in the two questions on appeal. Both issues challenged provisions of the AIA. First, the Court considered whether 35 U.S.C. § 314(d) bars judicial review of decisions to institute post-grant proceedings by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Second, the Court reviewed whether the rulemaking authority in 35 U.S.C. § 316(a)(4) permits the USPTO to regulate application of the broadest reasonable interpretation standard (BRI) during claim construction before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).
Reviewability of Post-Grant Proceedings
The Court held that “Section 314(d) bars . . . challenge[s] to the Patent Office’s decision to institute inter partes review.” Writing for the Court, Justice Breyer noted that the text of § 314(d) expressly states that institution decisions “shall be final and nonappealable.” The Court stated that interpreting this language to allow judicial review would “undercut one important congressional objective, namely, giving the Patent Office significant power to revisit and revise earlier patent grants.”