PTAB Changes Claim Construction Standard

To be published in the Federal Register tomorrow [get complete draft here], to be effective 30 days after publication (but actually 33 days due to weekend and Veterans’ Day) on 11/13/2018:

United States Patent and Trademark Office
37 CFR Part 42
[Docket No. PTO-P-2018-0036]
RIN 0651-AD16
Changes to the Claim Construction Standard for Interpreting Claims in Trial
Proceedings Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board
AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Department of Commerce.
ACTION: Final rule.

Executive Summary:

Purpose: This final rule revises the rules for IPR, PGR, and CBM proceedings that implemented provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (“AIA”) providing for trials before the Office, by replacing the BRI standard for interpreting unexpired patent claims and substitute claims proposed in a motion to amend with the same claim construction standard that would be used to construe the claim in a civil action under 35 U.S.C. 282(b). The rule adopts the same claim construction standard used by Article III federal courts and the ITC, both of which follow Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc), and its progeny. Under the final rule, the PTAB will apply in an AIA proceeding the same standard applied in federal courts to construe patent claims. This final rule also amends the rules to add a new provision which states that any prior claim construction determination in a civil action or proceeding before the ITC regarding a term of the claim in an IPR, PGR, or CBM proceeding will be considered if that determination is timely filed in the record of the IPR, PRG or CBM proceeding.

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