The passing of the America Invents Act (AIA) in 2012 dramatically changed the landscape of patent litigation in the United States by establishing the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), an administrative tribunal within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that resolves patent validity disputes. The number of new cases filed in this new forum grew from 111 cases in 2012 to almost 1,800 in 2015. As the volume of cases increased, so did the number of practitioners who now specialize in PTAB trial practice.
As the new practice area grew, so did the need for an organization to help facilitate communications between all relevant stakeholders to improve PTAB trial practice and professionalize PTAB practitioners. The legal community recently responded by officially forming the PTAB Bar Association. Based on its Charter, the PTAB Bar Association intends to preserve and promote the highest professional and ethical standards among lawyers and stakeholders who appear before the PTAB. The PTAB Bar Association will bring together attorneys, PTAB judges, and corporate and government stakeholders to improve the flow and clarity of information, to provide greater professionalism to the practice and to facilitate and enhance a dialogue from a variety of perspectives.
Attorneys throughout the country acknowledged the need for such an association, given the many questions that came with the new AIA standards. After a resounding consensus in approval of an organizational chapter in February 2016, fifty law firms provided seed financing, and the newly formed bar was officially launched on September 16, 2016. Within a month, the PTAB Bar Association had over 500 members.
Membership is available to all who are interested in PTAB trial practice, including attorneys, patent agents, judges, students and judicial clerks. For more information about membership, please visit the PTAB Bar Association website.
Members are invited to join a range of committees, including the Industry Committee, the Annual Conference Committee, the Communication Committee, the PTAB Trials Committee and the PTAB Appeals Committee.
The PTAB Bar Association’s Inaugural Conference will be held March 1-2, 2017 at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C. The Inaugural Conference will cover a variety of topics, including information about the various proceedings available before the PTAB, legal decisions relevant to PTAB practitioners, best practices in PTAB proceedings, and a special workshop for newer PTAB practitioners.