The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) had an eventful April, capped by two US Supreme Court decisions addressing inter partes review (IPR). While the Court found IPR constitutional in Oil States Energy Services, in its companion decision in SAS Institute, the Court also barred the PTAB’s practice of instituting trial as to a subset of the challenged claims (partial institution decisions). As a result, since those April 24 opinions, the PTAB has begun to institute trial for all challenged claims for IPR petitions where the petitioner is likely to prevail as to at least one claim (and for all petitioned grounds, a practice not required by SAS Institute). Among the affected IPRs instituted in late April were two against Lone Star Silicon Innovations LLC, while the PTAB saw IPR petitions filed in April against Oyster Optics, LLC and Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited. The Board also issued final decisions throughout April in IPRs against ChriMar Systems, Inc.; Global Equity Management (SA) Pty. Ltd.; Papst Licensing GmbH & Company Kg; Skky, Inc.; and Uniloc.
A spate of recent transfers out of the Eastern District of Texas in cases brought there by NPEs include a failed motion for a writ of mandamus from the Federal Circuit seeking to reverse a transfer, a successful motion for a writ ordering a transfer, an NPE throwing in the towel by agreeing to transfer, and several follow-on successful motions to change venue, typically to the Northern District of California. All of these transfers out of Texas have occurred as the US Supreme Court considers whether to limit in which judicial districts patent infringement actions can be brought; the Court heard arguments in the TC Heartland case in late March, with a decision expected in the coming weeks.
Less than two weeks after Alibaba, The Priceline Group (Booking.com), and eBay filed petitions for inter partes review (IPR) challenging Global Equity Management (SA) Pty. Ltd.’s (GEMSA’s) two patents-in-campaign, the NPE has sued Alibaba for a second time (2:16-cv-01074). As in all of GEMSA’s previous cases, which now total over 35, the NPE’s infringement allegations focus on the graphical user interface (GUI) of the defendant’s website.