VLSI Turns to the Courts for PTAB Fees Denied by Vidal

March 24, 2024

The ongoing saga over misconduct at the Patent Trial and Appeal (PTAB) has taken a new turn. In late 2022, USPTO Director Kathi Vidal ruled that two third-party petitioners, OpenSky Industries and Patent Quality Assurance (PQA), had abused the inter partes review (IPR) process by filing petitions that were designed to extract rent-seeking payments from patent owner VLSI Technology LLC. However, while Vidal found OpenSky’s behavior to be so egregious that she ordered it to pay $413K in attorney fees to VLSI, upholding that order earlier this month, she did not award fees against PQA. Now, VLSI has turned to the courts in an attempt to win fees from PQA as well, asserting claims of “abuse of process, fraud, and civil conspiracy” in a recent Virginia state court complaint against PQA and an individual acting as its “authorized representative” that seeks $3.2M in attorney fees stemming from their alleged actions. On March 20, the defendants removed VLSI’s suit to the federal Eastern District of Virginia, in the process identifying a kitchen sink of purported grounds for the complaint’s dismissal.

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