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PTAB Chair Quoted on Patent Rights and Sovereign Immunity in Law360

Practices: Intellectual Property, Intellectual Property Litigation, Patent Litigation

Washington, D.C.-based intellectual property litigation partner and chair of the firm’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) group Scott McKeown was quoted in a Sept. 27 Law360 article on sovereign immunity issues affecting the PTAB.

The article discusses how a pharmaceutical manufacturer sold patents for its ocular drug to the Saint Regis Mohawk tribe and licensed the same rights back. The drug maker contends that the Native American tribe is a sovereign nation, not subject to patent challenges under PTAB inter partes review (IPR) proceedings.

Mr. McKeown notes that the U.S. Supreme Court and Federal Circuit have sent signs that they do not consider PTAB IPRs directly comparable to district court lawsuits where sovereign immunity applies, so sovereign immunity may be short-lived at the PTAB.