U.S. Supreme Court limits judicial review in patent cases

On April 20, the U.S. Supreme Court limited when people may challenge in court certain agency decisions related to patents. In _Thryv, Inc. v. Click-To-Call Technologies, LP_ the court ruled 7-2 that judges may not review decisions made by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) about whether the time limit had passed for challenging patents.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered the opinion of the court, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito.

In her opinion, Ginsburg argued that the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) prevents courts from reviewing whether the PTAB rightfully began _inter partes review_ (IPR). IPR allows a third party to both challenge a patent claim and request review of the challenge before the PTAB. Ginsburg cited U.S. Supreme Court precedent and the purpose of the AIA to support limiting judicial review.

Ginsburg also wrote that the language of the AIA limiting judicial review overcomes the general understanding that courts may review agency decisions. She concluded that allowing appeals of PTAB decisions to begin IPR would go against Congress’ reasons for creating IPR.

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote a dissenting opinion, joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Gorsuch argued that the decision brings the court closer to giving away core judicial powers to agency officials and to leaving the rights and liberties of private citizens to the mercy of bureaucrats.

Click here to learn more about the case or about judicial review.

Click here to read the U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Additional reading:
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Journey: Judicial review
Patent examiner
Oil States Energy Services v. Greene’s Energy Group
The Administrative State Project




About the author

Jace Lington

Jace Lington is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at jace.lington@ballotpedia.org

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