Intellectual Property

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Business ・APA ・3 Sources

An innovation, work of literature, or work of art that has the potential to generate revenue as well as the legal right to ownership of a patent, trademark, and copyright is said to be protected by intellectual property. Businesses are shielded from rivals who might steal ideas and use them for their own gain by intellectual property. These rules permit businesses to exist and, as a result, provide guidance to enterprises regarding what they are and are not permitted to do. Cases that involve persons pursuing their rights in court result from violations of the established laws. This paper analyzes the Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v Lee (Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director, Patent and Trademark Ofice) (15-446) case.

Facts and Background of the case

Cuozzo Speed Technologies was issued with the U.S Patent No. 6,778,074 (074) on 17th of August 2004. The patent states that, “Speed Limit Indicator and Method for Displaying Speed and the Relevant Speed Limit.” It involved displaying the current speed and the relevant speed limit of a vehicle with an interface and a global positioning system respectively. In 2012, Garmin USA, Inc. petitioned the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to inter parties review (IPR) claims 10(that describes the device to be patented), 14(states the color display) and 17(how the color filter interacts with the device) of the 074 patent (Gaitan, 2016).

The three claims were found to be obvious by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) under the 35 U.S.C. 103 which states that an obvious invention cannot be granted a patent. According to them, there were no distinct differences between prior art and Cuozzo invention by using a standard interpretation called broadest-reasonable interpretation (BRI). Cuzzo was denied replacement of the claims 10, 14 and 17 with claims 21, 22 and 23 by PTAB with the argument that they lacked sufficient description and were unsuitably broad (Gaitan, 2016).

Disagreement between Cuozzo and Lee

Cuozzo appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit arguing that PTAB relied on Garmin’s material which had not been presented in its petition to determine the suitability of IPR. On the other hand, PTAB argued that 35 U.S.C 314(D) of the IPR cannot be appealed. Cuozzo hence argued that the clause can be reviewed after the issue of final decision by PTAB, as well as against the use of BRI standard (Applegate).

Ruling of the court

The Court of Appeals stated that 314 statute does not allow the review of PTAB’S IPR, and confirmed the need for the application of BRI standard by PTAB. The Supreme Court found the 316(a)(4) statute ambiguous, and allowed the Patent Office to issue rules that governed the inter partes review. They also held that the use of BRI standard is a reasonable exercise of rulemaking authority of the Patent Office. However, the court found that statute 314 (d) clearly states the Patent office decision to institute review of inter partes is “final and nonappealable.”

Court decisions are contained in the majority members in the court. If a member agrees with the majority but disagrees with the reasoning, then the member can write a concurring opinion, while those who completely disagree with the majority can write a dissenting opinion. Cases concerning business are determined based on the patent laws, and their effect on other existing businesses, as well as on the final consumer of the product (Brinckerhoff, 2016).

There was a disagreement among the justices in the Supreme Court. The majority, headed by Justice Breyer affirmed that, “Where a patent holder grounds its claims in a statute closely related to that decision to institute, the IPR proceedings cannot be reviewed.” Justice Alito on the other hand believed that the 314 statutory did not prevent any review but rather paved way for appeal (Brinckerhoff, 2016).

According to my opinion, the court should have supported Cuozzo’s argument that PTO applies the plain and ordinary meaning standard rather than the BRI standard during IPR proceedings. This would give the upcoming inventors an opportunity to showcase their work without having to follow strict rules of law. In addition, Cuozzo and other future inventors would get the room to replace claims in cases where they are considered obvious or duplicated.


Court decisions, largely affect the functioning of other activities in line with the case at hand. The decision that prevented Cuozzo technologies from implementing their invention affects other firms and businesses who seek for intellectual property.


Applegate, D. L. What’s at Stake in Cuozzo v. Lee?: The view of the Petitioner.

Brinckerhoff, Courtesy C. (2016). “Patent watch: Supreme Court decision impacts the strength of US patents.” Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 15, no. 8: 524.

Gaitan, D. (2016). Cuozzo Speed Techs., LLC v. Lee: 134 S. Ct. 2131 (2016). Intell. Prop. Tech. LJ, 21,51

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