Challenge of Agency Patent Cancellation Properly Dropped

Written August 27, 2020

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on August 20, 2020, held that Security People, Inc. improperly challenged the cancellation of its patent by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in a federal district court. Sec. People, Inc. v. Iancu, Fed. Cir., No. 19-2118, 8/20/20.

A competitor challenged parts of Security People’s US Patent No. 6,655,180, on an electronic lock with an adjustable bolt, in inter partes review. The board invalidated part of the patent, and the Federal Circuit affirmed without an opinion. 

Security People then sued the agency in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, raising constitutional arguments it hadn’t made in its original appeal of the board’s decision.

The district court dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, finding Congress gave the Federal Circuit exclusive jurisdiction over board appeals.

The Federal Circuit affirmed.