Just this week, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) designated five opinions as “precedential.” This “precedential” designation is rarely bestowed – the PTAB’s website lists only 34 “precedential” opinions. These opinions are binding in all future PTAB proceedings unless superseded by subsequent, binding authority. “Precedential” opinions may be contrasted against non-binding “routine,” “representative,” and “informative” opinions.

Furthermore, acting Chief Administrative Patent Judge Nathan Kelley published a blog post reporting on a Patent Trial and Appeal Board Motion to Amend Study. Kelley’s post and the study note that the PTAB reviewed 118 motions to amend, granted (or granted-in-part) six of those motions, and denied the remainder. “Of those denied, including the denial portion of those granted-in-part, 22 were denied solely on procedural…, and 94 were denied after identifying specific grounds of patentability that the proposed amended claims did not satisfy.” Even with last year’s “quick fix” rule changes it appears that motions to amend are rarely filed, and rarely granted.

The following five opinions were designated “precedential.”

And, earlier this year, the PTAB designated as “precedential” two other opinions.

These recently-designated “precedential” opinions will shape PTAB jurisprudence as the forum continues to provide an administrative alternative to litigating the validity and patentability of issued claims in the U.S. district courts.