Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Janelle Waack provided comment for a Law360 article outlining the pros and cons of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's plan for a pilot program to test institution of inter partes reviews (IPRs) based on decisions by a single administrative patent judge. The pilot program would replace the current three-judge panel method currently in use by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and help better manage the rising number of petitions received and expedite the decision-making process. However, as Janelle points out in the article, there is no appellate review of decisions to institute IPRs by the Federal Circuit so the patent system may be better served by having a panel of three PTAB administrative patent judges make those decisions. "There's a potential for one judge to be biased one way or another, either in favor of instituting reviews or not instituting them, and having three judges debate the issues ensures better results."
The full article, "One-Judge Decisions Will Help PTAB Cope With AIA Flood," was published by Law360 on August 26, 2015 and is available online.