Federal Circuit Confirms That Forum Selection Clauses Can Bar IPRs

February 11, 2022

The Federal Circuit has issued its first precedential ruling that forum selection clauses can bar parties from filing inter partes reviews (IPRs). On February 8, the court held that District Judge Leonard P. Stark erred in his interpretation of a forum selection clause that restricted all litigation to the District of Delaware for two years. While Judge Stark concluded in part that this provision should be read to avoid statutory time limits that would effectively make IPRs unavailable, the Federal Circuit disagreed—holding that parties are free to contract around IPRs should they choose to do so. The decision came one day before the US Senate confirmed Judge Stark’s nomination to fill an upcoming vacancy on the appellate court that just reversed him.

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