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Dissecting Dissents for Ex Parte Appeals

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Dissent is not the highest form of judgment for judges on the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  As discussed in further detail below, our own analysis indicates that dissents for ex parte appeals are found in about .5% of decisions issued by the PTAB.  A PTAB judge deciding an ex parte appeal is more than ten times less likely to dissent than a Federal Circuit (CAFC) judge. Relying on internal USPTO policies and former PTAB judges’ personal experiences, a recent spate of commentary has provided different explanations regarding the rarity of dissents for ex parte appeals.  We were still left wondering why some judges go out of their way to write dissents.  In an effort to better understand this issue and what the dissents might reveal about the ex parte appeal process in general, we conducted a statistical analysis of dissents in recent ex parte appeal decisions.
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