Patent

The PTAB Precedential Opinion Panel’s Hulu Decision: Any Guidance is Better than No Guidance

An IPR petition must be based “only on a ground that could be raised under [35 U.S.C. §§] 102 [anticipation] or 103 [obviousness] and only on the basis of prior art consisting of patents or printed publications.” 35 U.S.C. § 311(b). The “printed publication” basis for IPRs seems as fundamental an issue as one can imagine. But until late December 2019, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) offered no precedential decision explaining “[w]hat is required for a petitioner to establish that an asserted reference qualifies as [a] ‘printed publication’ at the institution stage.” The Board presented that broad question in an April 2019 order announcing it would answer that question through its Precedential Opinion Panel (POP). Hulu, LLC v. Sound View Innovations, LLC, Case IPR2018-01039, Paper 15 (PTAB Apr. 1, 2019).

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