Bloomberg Law
March 3, 2021, 11:00 AM

Turning Away a Patent Challenge: The NHK-Fintiv Rule Explained

Matthew Bultman
Matthew Bultman

A rule that lets the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office refuse to consider a patent challenge—to avoid duplicating proceedings—has sparked lawsuits, complaints, and even a request for Congress to investigate.

Inventors say the NHK-Fintiv rule helps patent owners avoid fighting attacks on multiple fronts.

But tech heavyweights such as Apple Inc. and Google LLC say it’s unraveling Congress’ attempt to rein in abusive patent legislation—and are suing over it. Patient groups fear it will slow generic drugs from coming to market.

(1) What is the NHK-Fintiv rule?
The rule—a product of precedent established under former PTO director Andrei Iancu—lets the ...

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