The PTAB recently sent out an email alert, directing practitioners to its order providing guidance on Motions to Amend in Corning Optical Comm. RF, LLC v. PPC Broadband, Inc., IPR2014-00441, Paper 19. The Order stemmed from the required “conferral” with the Board regarding a motion to amend, 37 CFR § 42.121(a), and is surely another response from the Board in response to criticism that only one Motion to Amend has been granted to date.
In general, the Board set forth, again, a listing of all the many requirements of a Motion to Amend. Those requirements are reviewed below. What is unique about this Order, and surely the reason it was set forth separately in the PTO alert, is the fact that the Board authorized Patent Owner to place its proposed substitute claims in an appendix, such that it did not count against the 15-page limit for motions to amend. This has been a sore subject with Patent Owners who were otherwise forced to cram all the requirements of the Idle Free decision, and its progeny, along with a listing of the proposed claims, within the 15-page motion to amend. Assuming this is a trend by the Board, this will be welcome to Patent Owners who are have been clambering for a more fair opportunity to address all the many requirements of these motions.
By way of review, we set forth the other requirements of a Motion to Amend that were reiterated in the Order:
- Proposed substitute claim should be responsive to the ground of unpatentability applicable to the original claim for which it is a substitute;
- A claim listing is required, including each proposed substitute claim (with any claim having a changed scope included);
- The proposed substitute claim must be traceable back to the original claim it is intended to replace;
- If more than one substitute claim is required for a particular claim, the motion should articulate a special circumstance to justify the request;
- The motion must show clearly the changes of the proposed substitute claim vis-a-vis the original claim (i.e., brackets for deleted text; underlining for inserted text);
- Patentability must be shown, in general, not merely over the references applied against the original claims;
- Written description support must be shown for each proposed substitute claim (citing to the original disclosure and showing support for the entire claim, including demonstrating disclosure in any intervening applications);
- If a new term is proposed, the meaning of which reasonably can be anticipated as subject to dispute, the Patent Owner must provide a proposed claim construction (citation to “plain and ordinary meaning” is viewed as unhelpful – what that meaning is must be provided);
- Sufficient underlying facts should be provided regarding the proposed added feature, including whether it was previously known anywhere, in whatever setting, and whether it was known in combination with any other elements of the claim (if known, the motion must show why it was not obvious);
- Patent Owner must reveal what it knows about the new feature (i.e., including a discussion of the ordinary skill in the art, with a particular focus on the feature added, such as a specific discussion about the technical knowledge pertaining to the added feature, whether there are textbooks or conventional practices relating to the feature, and what basic skill set would be possessed by one of skill); and
- Make a showing regarding the co-pendency and common-inventor requirements of 35 USC § 120 with respect to each ancestral application in the chain of priority applications.