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IEEE-USA supports inventors' rights in brief before US Supreme Court, oral arguments heard today


WASHINGTON -- A brief IEEE-USA filed in support of inventors' rights was part of a case the U.S. Supreme Court heard today.

"The court reviewed inventors' rights this morning and IEEE-USA was pleased to take the side of innovators and major technology companies," said Chris Katopis, a Washington, D.C., intellectual property attorney and former U.S. Patent and Trade Office executive who wrote the amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief on behalf of IEEE-USA.

The question before the court in Kappos v. Hyatt is whether an inventor who has been denied a patent by the PTO may present new evidence that the person had but did not present in the original application. In a 6-2-1 appellate decision, the Federal Circuit ruled in November 2010 that the PTO must accept a petitioner's new evidence.

In its brief -- which has been paraphrased -- IEEE-USA wrote:

IEEE-USA recognizes the important role of judicial review -- namely preserving an inventor's access to the courts -- as established by Congress in the 1836 Patent Act, as a check on the PTO's judgment, procedural regularity and patent quality. Today's case raises crucial questions concerning the nature and scope of a civil action pursuant to the act and an inventor's rights upon judicial review. The Patent Act provides a statutory basis for a disappointed patent applicant to introduce new evidence and to have the evidence reviewed de novo (anew) by a district court. Second, the case will help define the PTO director's ultimate rule-making authority under the Administrative Procedure Act, especially concerning patent application examination processes and judicial review. This case deals with important substantive and procedural questions regarding inventors' rights and patent law, areas of law important to U.S. IEEE members and the innovation ecosystem for scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and investors.


The IEEE-USA brief is accessible at

IEEE-USA advances the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of 210,000 engineering, computing and technology professionals who are U.S. members of IEEE. For information on the benefits of IEEE membership, see




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