Support the AIA’s IPR Procedures
The Inter Partes Review (IPR) program is working as Congress intended and provides a simple, low-cost way to weed out bad patents. Academic research suggests that over 25% of the patents issued each year are partially or wholly invalid. A single invalid claim can result in millions of dollars being wasted in unnecessary litigation and cause significant economic harm to individual businesses. With over 300,000 patents granted annually, it is estimated that nearly 100,000 invalid claims are mistakenly issued every year.
It is critical to have an effective way to correct these erroneous patent grants. When used correctly, IPR does exactly that by providing the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) an opportunity to review the patents it issued and correct any mistakes it made in doing so.
Moreover, IPR is fair to all stakeholders, including patent owners. When the PTO reaches a decision on the merits, it upholds some or all of the challenged claims 65% of the time. Data also shows that IPRs are being used selectively, as intended by Congress, and about 99.8% of all active patents will never face an IPR challenge. Thus, this process enables careful review of a small number of select patents to cancel invalid claims that would otherwise produce needless litigation and harm innovation.
Unfortunately, IPR is under attack and regulations promulgated by the PTO have made it much harder to weed out bad patents. These changes leave invalid patents in place and enable patent claims that never should have been granted to be asserted against American businesses, imposing millions of dollars in wasted legal costs and diverting resources into unnecessary litigation. Several bills introduced in Congress would go further to shield invalid patents from review.
When used correctly, IPR has the power to improve patent quality and reduce frivolous litigation. But for it to be fully effective, the harmful changes made by the Patent Office must be reversed, and legislative efforts to further weaken IPR must be rejected.