USPTO Class Action

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Attorneys from Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC’s class action and intellectual property group filed a class action complaint this week against the United States and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for damages to Christy, Inc. and a class of other patent holders whose property was taken by the USPTO without compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.

This unlawful “taking” occurred, according to the lawsuit, when the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) invalidated claims pursuant to the post-grant proceedings created in the America Invents Act (“AIA”), including Inter Partes Review (“IPR”) and Post-Grant Review (“PGR”) proceedings (together, “post-grant proceedings” or “PGPs”). These PGPs have been used by the USPTO to invalidate patents at an alarming rate, and Christy, Inc. and other patent holders seek just compensation for the taking of patent owners’ recognized patent property rights by the United States. More specifically, the lawsuit seeks money damages for the value of the patent claims, including any expected royalty and other payments for use of the patented technologies, the issuance and maintenance fees paid, and any investments made in the patented technologies.

The case also seeks damages for the United States’ breach of contract for its failure to maintain in force the subject patent claims, including the recovery of attorney fees expended defending those same patents in PGPs. And because the United States contends these patents were issued “erroneously” by the USPTO in the first place, Christy, Inc. contends all issue and maintenance fees paid were exacted by the government and should be returned.

Any individual or entity that owns a patent for which one or more claims were invalidated in an IPR or PGR proceeding is eligible for the class action. If you would like to join this class action, please contact us to discuss your options.

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Case Name: CHRISTY, INC. v. USA
Case Number: 1:18-cv-00657-MMS

Link to the Complaint: 2018-05-09 [1] Complaint

PGPs: Costing Individuals, Businesses, and the American Economy

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”), which carries out PGPs for the USPTO, has even been labeled the “patent death squad” due to the extremely high number of patent claim cancellations it has executed. The PTAB has invalidated a staggering 77% of patent claims that have come before it. These post-issuance proceedings are estimated to have caused damage to the US economy equaling one trillion dollars.

Meanwhile, the USPTO is profiting from patent owners’ payments of issuance and maintenance fees and is estimated to have made an additional $140 million in correcting its own mistakes through the PTAB. Furthermore, PGP petitioners (those trying to get patents revoked) are actually eligible for certain reimbursements, while patent owners are still forced to suffer financial loss.