March 19, 2018

Presenting IPR Arguments Too Late is, Well, Too Late

By Bryan K. Wheelock, Principal

In Dell Inc. v. Acceleron, LLC, [2017-1101] (March 19, 2018), the Federal Circuit affirmed the Board’s decision on remand not to consider Dell’s late-presented arguments, rather than giving Acceleron the opportunity to address them.

In the previous appearance of this IPR before the Federal Circuit, Acceleron persuaded the Federal Circuit that the Board had improperly relied upon late-presented arguments by Dell made for the first time during the oral argument to which Acceleron did not have the opportunity to respond.  The Federal Circuit remanded the case, and on remand the the Board decided the proper course was to ignore the arguments made by Dell because they were not responsive to Acceleron’s arguments.

The Federal Circuit said that the Board was obligated to dismiss Dell’s untimely argument given that the untimely argument in this case was raised for the first time during oral argument.  Dell argued that ignoring evidence of unpatentability was against public policy because it will not improve patent quality, but the Federal Circuit found that due process and preserving the Board’s discretion outweigh any negative effects of not invalidating a patent claim, especially since other parties remained free to challenge the validity of the claims.