This website illustrates how Civil Engineers may make greater use of the Global Patent System to Promote Progress in their Field.
The American Founders included Patent Rights in the United States Constitution to Promote Progress.
Inter partes Review (IPR)
U.S. Patenting
      The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act made Inter partes Review available on September 16, 2012, effectively replacing the previously available Inter partes Reexamination proceeding.  A challenger must wait at least nine months following a patent's issue to initiate Inter partes Review, thereby complementing the nine month window immediately following issue for Post-Grant Review.    

     To successfully initiate Inter partes Review, challengers must show the USPTO that a reasonable likelihood exists that they will prevail with respect to at least one claim of the challenged patent.  Similar to Post-Grant Review, if the challenger has already filed a Declaratory Judgment action over a given patent, then Inter partes Review is not available to the challenger for that patent.  Unlike the more numerous available grounds for attacking a patent under Post-Grant Review, Inter partes Review only allows the challenger to attempt to invalidate patent claims based on 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103.  If the USPTO grants Inter partes Review, both the patent owner and the challenger participate in an ensuing proceeding in which the USPTO determines the validity of the challenged patent claims.     

partes Review also includes several provisions similar to Post-Grant Review, including:  the challenger not being able to remain anonymous; the burden of proof on the challenger being a preponderance of the evidence standard, which is lower than the invalidity standard during litigation; significant estoppel that could foreclose other avenues of attack against a patent by a challenger who loses at an Inter partes Review proceeding; the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issuing a final decision regarding the challenged patent's validity within 12-18 months; and either party being able to appeal the PTAB's decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.     

     Similar to Post-Grant Review, the USPTO charges a significant fee to the challenger for conducting an Inter partes Review proceeding ($23,000, with an additional surcharge for each challenged claim in excess of 20).  However, as with Post-Grant Review, the costs of litigation will typically dwarf these fees, which despite estoppel issues may make Inter partes Review a good option for challenging a patent, particularly in light of the relatively lower burden of proof that challengers must meet to invalidate patent claims through Inter partes Review.
Tappan Zee Bridge in New York
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