The Supreme Court on Monday denied Research & Diagnostics Systems Inc.’s petition for a writ of certiorari to consider the degree of deference that should be afforded administrative decisions of the PTO on appeal to Federal District Court when new evidence is presented.
Streck Inc. sued R&D Systems, a blood test technology company, for patent infringement in Federal District Court. A Nebraska jury held R&D Systems liable for infringement following a finding that it had failed to establish a claim of priority over the disputed patents. In a parallel interference proceeding, the PTO awarded priority to R&D Systems. Streck appealed the PTO ruling in District Court under 35 U.S.C. § 146, where a patent holder may appeal a PTO determination concerning priority made pursuant to an interference proceeding.
On appeal, the Court found the evidence presented before the District Court differed from the evidence presented to the PTO. The Court analyzed the totality of the evidence de novo, without giving deference to the PTO ruling, and granted priority over the patents to Streck. The Federal Circuit affirmed.
This denial was predictable based on last month’s Supreme Court decision in Kappos v. Hyatt. As we reported, in Kappos, regardless of whether “new” evidence previously was or could have been presented during proceedings before the PTO, the District Court, in a § 145 appeal (a companion to a § 146 appeal), must review any related factual conclusions affected by this new evidence de novo without giving deference to any prior decision or finding of the PTO.
Thus, consistent with Kappos, here, the District Court merely reviewed the evidence before the PTO with the “new” evidence presented solely in District Court de novo. Therefore, in this case, the high court had no cause to review the level of deference afforded administrative rulings.