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FedEx Nabs Inter Partes Review Of Shipment-Tracking Patent

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office patent board recently opted to institute inter partes review of a shipment-tracking patent held by licensing company IpVenture Inc., finding that FedEx Corp. has a decent chance of showing that IpVenture’s claims are either obvious or anticipated.

The USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board panel ruled that FedEx had a shown a “reasonable likelihood” of establishing that all 30 claims in IpVenture’s tracking patent would be anticipated or obvious in light of prior art. The panel therefore instituted inter partes review of the tracking patent.

FedEx filed for inter partes review of the tracking patent in May, arguing that a 2002 patent application publication that disclosed a system for tracking packages had anticipated 16 claims of IpVenture’s patent. The rest of the claims were obvious in light of a combination of the 2002 application and two patents issued in 2005 and 2007, FedEx argued.

In response, California-based patent licensor IpVenture claimed that FedEx’s petition hadn’t given the correct claim construction and had failed to show that the two cited patents were actually prior art.

But the panel said  that IpVenture hadn’t explained how any of FedEx’s arguments are incorrect due to “allegedly faulty claim constructions” and hadn’t pointed to any claim limitations that aren’t disclosed in the 2002 application publication.

The panel also found that the two cited patents qualified as prior art for the purpose of figuring out whether to institute a trial after noting it believed the correct priority date for the challenge claims wasn’t earlier than March 26, 2003.

A FedEx spokesman stated that the company welcomes the PTAB’s decision as it believes it bolsters its case.

“We believe the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s decision to institute review of IpVenture’s patent supports FedEx’s position that there is no merit to the allegations in the related patent litigation,” the spokesman said.

For more information, see Law360.

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