Washington — The Computer & Communications Industry Association has sent a letter to Patent and Trademark Office Director Iancu asking him not to implement new rules that would prevent challenges to weak or overly broad patents.

Senators Coons and Tillis sent a letter to PTO Director Iancu expressing concern over so-called “serial” IPR petitions.  The senators asked the PTO to deny inter partes review (IPR) petitions if another petition has already been filed, even if the first petitioner is a totally different party than the later petitioner.  This would have severe negative impacts on the IPR and patent system.

In the letter, CCIA patent counsel Josh Landau provided evidence that “serial” IPR petitions are extremely uncommon and cautioned that the requested changes to the rules would make it easier to game the patent system, preserving invalid patents from challenge. He offered an example that “a petition made based on weak prior art against a single minor claim could be used to deny any further petitions by any petitioner. Such a presumption would encourage gamesmanship by patent owners, triggering a weak challenge in order to bar future defendants from use of the inter partes procedure.”