When drafting the America Invents Act (AIA), Congress hoped to encourage district courts to stay patent infringement cases if one of the new AIA post-grant proceedings was already underway. This would, Congress hoped, shift the task of addressing patent quality back to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) where it arguably belonged. If a recent Federal Circuit ruling is any guide, this seems to be happening.
In Fresenius USA, Inc. v. Baxter International, Inc., the court held that when a USPTO post-grant proceeding determines that a patent is invalid, the patent owner “no longer has a viable cause of action. . . . Therefore, the pending litigation is moot.” The decision recognizes the curative role of the USPTO post-grant review and the importance of the USPTO acting to correct its own error in issuing the patent in the first place before undue mischief occurs in the court system.