A Post-IPR World Would Hold Patent Risks And Benefits For Medtech Companies
The inter partes review process, which provides a non-court strategy for invalidating patents, could conceivably come to an end depending on the Supreme Court's ruling in a case this spring. Device firms have been wary of the IPR process, which can weaken patent protections, but attorneys point out that it has also been a helpful tool in fighting against the growing threat of patent trolls in medtech. While bets are for upholding the system, legal experts say device companies could fall back to other processes previously used to stop patent trolls.
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The court has agreed to take an oil-industry case challenging patent office inter partes review procedures on the grounds they violate a constitutional right to trial by jury. IPRs have become an increasingly common approach in medtech and elsewhere for challenging patents outside of court, but not without controversy.
10 New York representatives urge PTO to deny access to the inter partes review process to hedge funds and non-practitioners; generic companies join non-practicing entity Neptune Generics in challenging Lilly’s Almita patent.
A patent review board found that a remote monitoring patent owned by a “non-practicing entity” was invalid due to obviousness. So-called "patent troll" cases had been relatively rare in the device arena, but there has been an increase in activity.