While §315(b) Determinations are Appealable, in the Case the Board Got it Right

In Wi-Fi One, LLC v. Broadcom Corporation, [2015-1944] (April 20. 2016), the Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit, after deciding en banc that the PTAB’s decisions relating to §315(b) time-bars were appealable, affirmed the PTAB’s  determination that the petitioner in three related IPR’s were not time-barred.

The Federal Circuit said that a review of the Board’s decisions, in the context of the arguments Wi-Fi made at each stage, show that the Board did not apply a legally erroneous standard in deciding the “real party in interest, or privy” issue.  The Board correctly found that petitioner Broadcom was not in privity with the parties in the prior litigation.

The Federal Circuit also affirmed the Board’s denial of additional discovery on the issue of privity, noting that the Board explored the discovery issue in detail and applied the proper legal test for finding privity or real party in interest status under section 315(b).  Under these circumstances, the Federal Circuit declined to hold that the Board abused its discretion when it concluded that additional discovery was not warranted in this case.  Finally, the Federal Circuit rejected the patent owner’s contention that the Board did not adequately explain its rulings on the §315(b) issue, noting the Board’s multiple and detailed discussions of the section 315(b) issue, the Federal Circuit said that the “Board cannot fairly be accused of not providing an adequate explanation for its decision on that question.”