AIPLA Comments to ACUS on Patent Small Claims Court

Written July 13, 2022

On July 5, the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) submitted comments as proposed by the Administrative Office of the US Courts on a potential small claims patent court or small claims patent proceeding and its impacts. AIPLA addressed nine proposed questions and will continue to study these issues.  


AIPLA believes there is a need for a small claims patent court to accommodate those in which injunctive relief is not sought, and cases involving individual inventors, small businesses, or micro-entity plaintiffs that may not be able to afford the expense of traditional federal district court litigation. Additionally, AIPLA notes that the U.S. patent system could be strengthened by creating a small claims proceeding that would improve the enforcement alternatives where the cost of litigation is disproportionate to the value of the claim.  


We recommend that the small claims patent court proceed before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judges or creating a new, specialized administrative court. In reference to the 7th Amendment’s right to a jury trial, AIPLA believes that participation should be voluntary for both parties. Further, AIPLA believes that parties opting in should waive their right to file Inter Parties Reexaminations (IPRs), to expedite cost-effective disposition of the case. AIPLA proposes that the small-claims process be low-cost, efficient, and streamlined. AIPLA believes that damages should be limited to money damages in the form of a lump sum payment, capped at an amount both high and low enough to incentivize both plaintiffs and defendants, respectively, to participate, and that injunctive relief should also not be available. The final determination of a small claims patent court should be final and non-appealable. The ability to appeal, and particularly re-litigate, would negate the cost savings. Finally, AIPLA recommends eliminating or substantially limiting judicial review to circumstances under which relief from judgment could be sought under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60. 


To view the complete comments, please download the comment letter posted to the right of this page.