Petroleum Geo-Services Inc. v. WesternGeco LLC

In an order regarding deposition times for expert witnesses in three related inter partes reviews (IPRs), the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB or Board) ruled that total deposition time may be reduced relative to the total time that would be available in three unrelated proceedings.  Petroleum Geo-Services Inc. v. WesternGeco LLC, Case Nos. IPR2014-00687; -00688; and -00689 (PTAB, Jan. 21, 2015) (Daniels, APJ).

Under 37 C.F.R. § 42.53(c), each deposition in a proceeding may include seven hours of cross-examination, four hours of redirect examination and two hours of recross.  The patent owner requested each expert witness be available for the full allowable time given the existences of three separate proceedings—a total of 39 hours.  After petitioner sought relief, the PTAB ruled that, because the three patents at issue here were related as continuations of the same application, a reasonable time period was 17 hours total: 12 hours for cross-examination, three hours for redirect examination and two hours for recross.