Under 35 U.S.C. § 315(a)(2), a party seeking to institute an inter partes review (IPR) must identify all “real parties in interest.” Two weeks ago, the PTAB issued a decision regarding this provision, holding that a misidentification of the real party in interest is not fatal in some circumstances.

The petitioner, Valeo, Inc., requested an IPR on U.S. Patent No. 7,877,175 This patent was generally directed to an object detection system for blind spots in automobiles.

Seven months prior to the filing of the IPR petition, Valeo, Inc., merged into Valeo North America, Inc., and Valeo, Inc. ceased to exist. However, the petition identified various Valeo entities, including Valeo, Inc., as the real party in interest and omitted Valeo North America, Inc. The patent owner argued that the petition was fatally deficient because it failed to identify all real parties in interest. However, the Board found that the petition was “correct substantively” because Valeo North America, Inc. was the legal successor to Valeo, Inc. Accordingly, the omission of the correct real party in interest was not fatal to the petition. However, Valeo’s petition was denied on other substantive grounds.

Valeo N. Am. v. Magna Elecs., IPR2014-01206, Paper No. 13 (P.T.A.B. Dec. 23, 2014) (decision denying institution of Inter Partes Review)