PTAB Finds Waiver of Sovereign Immunity from IPR for University District Court Plaintiffs

December 27, 2017

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has denied the University of Minnesota’s motion to dismiss six inter partes reviews (IPRs) brought by Ericsson, ruling on December 19 that the university had waived its Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity from IPR by asserting the challenged patents in district court. The Board’s decision casts doubt on a related, controversial strategy pioneered in the fall by the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, which acquired patents from Allergan and SRC Labs, LLC and licensed them back in order to shield the patents from IPR using the tribe’s own sovereign immunity.

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