Starting on Sept. 16, 2012 inter partes review (IPR) replaced inter partes reexamination (IPRex). Almost a year and half later, the experiment is still in its infancy. Because it takes about 18 months from filing to final decision, at the time of this writing we still have only one final IPR decision! Many more will come soon, but there has already been plenty of action at the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) to permit some early conclusions. The simple answer is, yes, IPR is better.
IPR is faster, and in different ways fairer, for petitioners and patent owners. IPRex typically dragged on for years, which often did nothing for a defendant in a lawsuit. Because of the long delay, courts were denying stays of litigation more and more, and in many cases the defendant had already lost at trial and appeal before the IPRex completed. Now, an IPR must almost always be completed in 18 months from filing to a final decision of PTAB. And the PTAB seems committed to meeting that deadline.