Knobbe/Martens: Intellectual Property Law

USPTO Trials and Post-Grant Proceedings

We are one of the few firms well-positioned to handle the unique and often complicated aspects of inter partes patent cases in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Our dedicated team of attorneys and extensive experience allow us to successfully manage and resolve both patent interference and reexamination proceedings—from initial review by the USPTO Patent Trial and Appeal Board through final hearing by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Indeed, our USPTO-registered attorneys are involved in all aspects of inter partes proceedings. We regularly develop strategies that help our clients both invoke and/or avoid declarations of interference, using our vitally important litigation skills and deep technical understanding to proactively establish a strong position that, in many cases, prevents long and costly opposition.

Our expertise spans a wide range of technical disciplines, including molecular biology, genetics, semiconductor processing, computer software, and medical devices. We also stand ready to help our clients leverage the broad patent law changes introduced by the America Invents Act—including the replacement of traditional inter partes reexaminations with new proceedings that more closely resemble litigation. Several of our attorneys served on USPTO committees that developed rules for these proceedings, giving us an intimate knowledge of the changes, and positioning us to provide the highest level of representation in the USPTO's new proceedings.


USPTO Trials & Post-Grant Proceedings
  Post Grant Review Inter Partes Review Ex Parte Reexamination
Eligibility Any "First-to-File" patent Any issued patent Any issued patent
Timing Within 9 mos. of issuance "First-to-File" patents: Later of 9 mos. after issuance or conclusion of any PGR "First-to-Invent" patents: After issuance Pending litigation: One year after complaint served After issuance
Available Challenges §§ 101, 102, 103, 112, including public use/ on sale §§ 102, 103; limited to printed publications §§ 102, 103; limited to printed publications
Initiation Threshold More likely than not that at least one claim is unpatentable Reasonable likelihood that petitioner will prevail on least one challenged claim Substantial new question of patentability
Petitioner/ Requestor Participation Active in all stages Active in all stages Initial Request only (may reply to Patent Owner's Statement, if filed)
Discovery Depositions and documents Depositions and documents None
Decision Maker USPTO PTAB (3 APJ panel) USPTO PTAB (3 APJ panel) Central Reexamination Unit (3 patent examiners)
Duration 1-1½ years from Petition 1-1½ years from Petition 1-3 years from Request
Estoppel Grounds raised or could have been raised Grounds raised or could have been raised None
Appeal Either party may appeal to the Fed. Cir. Either party may appeal to the Fed. Cir. Patent Owner may appeal to the USPTO PTAB and thereafter to the Fed. Cir.
Anonymity No No Yes


Attorney Finder