To battle so-called patent trolls, Congress passed the America Invents Act to create a process known as inter partes review. Proponents of the law were dealt a victory in April when the United States Supreme Court upheld the process as constitutional. This rule change has significant implications for New Jersey inventors as the process is a helpful tool in fighting bogus patent lawsuits.
Created in 2011, the inter partes review process allows the executive branch, not a court of law, to revoke patents after they have already been granted. Opponents argued that giving the executive branch this power violated the separation of powers in that only courts are to have the authority to deprive an individual of his or her property. The Supreme Court disagreed with this view, holding that patents are not property but government-created rights that come with certain caveats. One of those is the ability of the patent office to revoke a patent it has previously issued.
The change in copyright rules has been hailed by some as a saving grace for defendants in patent litigation. Before inter partes review, defending against a frivolous patent lawsuit could cost companies millions of dollars. It often led to companies settling out of court despite having valid claims because the patent litigation process would be costly enough to run them out of business.
Intellectual property litigation is a reality for many business owners. Even when the conflict over a patent is clear-cut, a patent troll can cause an inventor immense cost and burden in defending their patent from the false claim. A company that believes their patent has been infringed may wish to contact an attorney with experience intellectual property litigation. An experienced attorney may be able to provide counsel on what options are available.