Patent Trial and Appeal Board

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The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is an administrative tribunal which, unlike almost any other administrative agency, has the authority to overturn a jury verdict in patent litigation. Notoriously hostile to small inventors, PTAB was first created in 2012 in the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The unrestrained power of PTAB is a matter of continuing controversy, and subject to multiple lawsuits. Its expansive authority was established, perhaps unconstitutionally, by the misnamed America Invents Act of 2011, which weakened patents granted in the United States and caused a decline in the application for patents here.

A shockingly high 84% of patents challenged in proceedings filed with the PTAB are invalidated in whole or in part. Federal courts invalidate only about 30% of patent claims challenged there.

Unlike real trials, proceedings before PTAB do not entail live cross-examination, and have only limited discovery. Typically the hearing is limited to merely an hour of arguments by attorneys.