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Harper Batts, SheppardMullin (Photo: Courtesy Photo). Harper Batts, SheppardMullin (Photo: Courtesy Photo).

The last year has been marked by a multitude of changes in regulations, procedures and case law relevant to patent disputes. At the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), new guidance to the examiners restricts their ability to reject claims for being directed to unpatentable subject matter under Section 101, which will inevitably result in more questionable patent claims being issued. At the same time, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has dramatically modified its procedures and approaches to handling post-grant petitions both at the institution stage and in instituted proceedings, resulting in more petitions being denied and more claims surviving PTAB trials. The PTAB’s tightening standards has resulted in more challenges proving to be unsuccessful, while many practitioners seem to believe that the very same challenges would have been more successful a year ago.

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