New Policy Seen as Easing PTAB Judges’ Pressure Concerns
Alex Yap spoke to Law360 about recently revised processes at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which should lessen concerns raised by a new government survey in which PTAB judges reported feeling pressure from superiors to alter their rulings.
“I’ve never felt pressured, nor have I witnessed any pressure on judges to change their decision in a certain way,” Alex said, noting that “what is pressure is very subjective.”
Alex suggested that some of the guidance to the board put in place by previous U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director Andrei Iancu on issues like patent eligibility may have been interpreted by the judges as “infringing upon their autonomy of how they’re going to write their decision.”
Until recently, PTAB management would review the board's decisions and offer suggestions before they were finalized, but Vidal altered that practice in May. Under the revised policy, that feedback will come only from other judges, and the director emphasized that management will not be involved in influencing decisions before they are issued.
“I think that removes at least any perception, whether rightly or wrongly, that somehow management has a thumb on the scale,” said Alex, who called the change “definitely the right step in terms of more transparency.”
Read the full article.