Rovi Mounts Constitutional Challenge to Inter Partes Reviews

May 23, 2019

“In creating inter partes reviews, Congress intended to provide [a] quick and cost effective alternative[] to litigation in the courts . . . It also created an unconstitutional one” (internal citations omitted). So begins the appellate brief filed in April by Rovi Guides, Inc., a subsidiary of TiVo Corporation. Rovi has appealed (2019-1215) the cancellation of claims from one of its “remote interactive program guide” patents by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The company brings a constitutional challenge to this PTAB authority, arguing that because Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) hired to adjudicate inter partes reviews (IPRs) “have the authority to render a final decision on behalf of the United States, without review by any higher executive-branch official”, they are “principal officers” who must be appointed by the US President and confirmed by the US Senate. Earlier this month, the US Department of Justice (USDOJ) filed a notice of intervention in the appeal, the Federal Circuit lifted a temporary stay to await word of the government’s intentions, and that court set a deadline for the USDOJ’s brief on the same day that the brief of appellee and IPR petitioner Comcast is due.

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