WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Coons (D-DE) sent a bipartisan letter to the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Andrei Iancu about abuse of the Inter Partes Review (IPR) process in the form of “serial” petitions.
The IPR process was envisioned as a second window to evaluate patents and an inexpensive alternative to district court litigation, not to allow abusive serial petitions —multiple follow-on petitions attacking the same patent claims and asserting new or modified arguments—either by the same petitioner or different petitioners.
“We have heard from both large companies with tremendous innovation pipelines as well as small companies and patent-intensive startups that they are facing extensive serial attacks on their patent portfolios,” wrote the senators. “Rather than addressing “bad patents” as was Congress’s intent during the development of the IPR process, these serial petitions appear to reflect coordinated efforts by certain organizations to undermine the strength of our patent system.”
“As you evaluate and make improvements to the IPR process, we urge you to prioritize solutions to the problem of abusive serial petitions—multiple follow-on petitions attacking the same patent claims and asserting new or modified arguments—either by the same petitioner or different petitioners,” the senators continued. “These petitions impose an undue burden on patent owners and harm innovation.”
The full text of the letter is available HERE.