Judge Nixes Challenge of Patent Review Process

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A federal judge on Friday dismissed a security company’s challenge to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s process for reviewing patent claims.
     Security People, of Petaluma, sued the USPTO and rival security firm Ojmar US in July 2015, claiming the review process violates the separation of powers by denying it the right to have its patent claims decided by a jury, rather than the executive branch.
     Security People previously sued Ojmar over a security lock patent in November 2014, but the suit was stayed in April last year pending a ruling by the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeals Board.
     In a March 25 ruling, U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam cited a recent Federal Circuit ruling, which rejected arguments that the USPTO’s inter partes review process violates Article III of the U.S. Constitution.
     The circuit’s December 2015 opinion in MCM Portfolio LLC v. Hewlett-Packard held that “because patent rights are public rights, and their validity susceptible to review by an administrative agency, the Seventh Amendment poses no barrier to agency adjudication without a jury.”
     Gilliam dismissed the complaint with prejudice, finding further amendment would be futile.
     Security People’s attorney, Frear Stephen Schmid of San Francisco, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Friday.

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