Expired Patents May Follow Shorter Trial Schedule

Some months back, I pointed out how the post-grant challenges of the USPTO's Patent Trial & Apppeal Board (PTAB) now follow a (7) month schedule. Given the 12-month statutory mandate to conclude such post-grant proceedings, the (7) month schedule allows for a (5) month back end for the Board to draft and issue the written decision. This (7) month schedule is down from the more generous (9) month schedlule employed in many 2012-13 filings. 

For those challenging/defending expired patents, prepare for an even shorter schedule. 

Below is a typical scheduling Order for an IPR/CBM proceeding of an unexpired patent, which includes various amendment related scheduling shown in red:

Trial Order....................................................................February 12, 2014

DUE DATE 1................................................................March 12, 2014

Patent owner's response to the petition

Patent owner's motion to amend the patent

DUE DATE 2...............................................................June 12, 2014

Petitioner's reply to patent owner response to petition

Petitioner's opposition to motion to amend

DUE DATE 3..............................................................July 11, 2014

Patent owner's reply to petitioner opposition to motion to amend

DUE DATE 4..............................................................August 1, 2014

Petitioner's motion for observation regarding cross-examination of reply witness

Motion to exclude evidence

Request for oral argument

DUE DATE 5.............................................................August 14, 2014

Patent owner's response to observation

Opposition to motion to exclude

DUE DATE 6............................................................August 21, 2014

Reply to opposition to motion to exclude

DUE DATE 7...........................................................September 4, 2014

Oral argument (if requested)

It is well established that an expired patent cannot be amended. So, DUE DATE 3 of the above schedule becomes entirely expendable in such cases. The schedule below reflects the difference in schedule of an expired patent. This schedule is used inCisco Systems Inc. v. AIP Acquisition LLC (IPR2014-00247), which involves an expired patent.

Trail Order............................................................................................... May 27, 2014

DUE DATE 1...........................................................................................August 18, 2014 (corrected 6/26, Paper 17) 

Patent owner’s response to the petition 

DUE DATE 2...........................................................................................November 14, 2014 

Petitioner’s reply to patent owner response to petition 

DUE DATE 3........................................................................................................N/A 

DUE DATE 4..........................................................................................December 6, 2014 

Petitioner’s motion for observation regarding cross-examination of reply witness 

Motion to exclude evidence Request for oral argument 

DUE DATE 5.........................................................................................December 19, 2014 

Patent owner’s response to observation Opposition to motion to exclude 

DUE DATE 6.........................................................................................December 26, 2014 

Reply to opposition to motion to exclude 

DUE DATE 7........................................................................................January 7, 2015 Oral argument (if requested)

By eliminating the (1) month allocation for preparation of a response to a (non-existent) amendment, the trial schedule is accelerated by a full month.