Will Oil States have any effects on other administrative agencies?
By holding that non-Article III venues may resolve patentability issues, the Court’s holding may support the International Trade Commission’s (ITC) ability to also resolve patentability issues—a power it has exercised for decades. Similar to the Patent Office, the ITC employs Administrative Law Judges who rule on trade issues that implicate patent infringement and patent validity. A primary distinction between the venues is that patent owners affirmatively petition the ITC for relief, which some may argue is a voluntary consent to the ITC’s jurisdiction, including its ability to find patent claims invalid. A patent owner before the PTAB at the Patent Office, however, has not similarly requested relief. These and other distinctions may lead some to disagree about what effect Oil States has on the ITC, but it appears that if the PTAB’s processes comport with Article III and the Seventh Amendment, there is an increased likelihood that the ITC’s do as well.