We are fast approaching the Supreme Court oral arguments in the case of Oil States Energy Services LLC v. Greene’s Energy group on Monday, November 27th. We had previously reported on this case in a recent piece, Oil Battles Greene Energy to War over Inter Partes Review in the Supreme Court. A whopping 57 amicus curiae briefs have been filed, underscoring the intense interest in the outcome of this case. The briefs represent a vast array of interested parties, including law professors, legal associations, small businesses, and recognized companies in the fields of medicine, electronics, automobiles, and technology. The key issue of the case is simple – whether the Patent Office’s inter partes review (IPR) process is an unconstitutional denial of the right to a jury trial.
The amicus briefs fall into three buckets: 1) those supporting the petitioner, Oil States, for the right to a jury trial), 2) those supporting the respondent, Greene’s Energy Group, upholding the IPR process, and 3) those supporting neither party. Below are summaries of each side’s justifications for their positions, as well as a Score Board of the briefs:
The Oil States amici state that patent rights are private rights and that patent holders have the right to a jury trial. They also assert that IPR has discouraged invention and patent filing, and it harmed the patent owners by incentivizing competitors to use it for fronting an infringement suit. A group of business owners asserted that “IPR devalues patent rights in ways that harm inventors, product-creators, entrepreneurs, and the entire innovation economy.”
On the other hand, Greene’s Energy Group amici hold that patent rights are public rights because they serve the public interest. They also hold that IPR is constitutional because Congress had legally created this proceeding by the America Invents Act (AIA). According to their arguments, IPR ensures high-quality patents for the public and rewards true innovation by enabling the review Board to re-determine whether the patent was granted correctly. A software company emphasized that without IPR “more wrongfully-issued patents will remain in place, deterring innovation and creating a drag on the Nation’s economy.”
Several entities who took neither side voiced their interest in definitively knowing the role of IPRs in the patent system. They asked the Court to consider how its ruling would affect the two groups of patent owners divided by the IPR question.
Here is the Score Board of the 57 amicus briefs. It will be interesting to see who is on the winning side once the Supreme Court issues its decision next spring