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For more than four decades, Fenwick & West LLP has helped some of the world’s most recognized companies become, and remain, market leaders. From emerging enterprises to large public corporations, our clients are leaders in the technology, life sciences and cleantech sectors and are fundamentally changing the world through rapid innovation.  MORE >

Fenwick & West was founded in 1972 in the heart of Silicon Valley—before “Silicon Valley” existed—by four visionary lawyers who left a top-tier New York law firm to pursue their shared belief that technology would revolutionize the business world and to pioneer the legal work for those technological innovations. In order to be most effective, they decided they needed to move to a location close to primary research and technology development. These four attorneys opened their first office in downtown Palo Alto, and Fenwick became one of the first technology law firms in the world.  MORE >

From our founding in 1972, Fenwick has been committed to promoting diversity and inclusion both within our firm and throughout the legal profession. For almost four decades, the firm has actively promoted an open and inclusive work environment and committed significant resources towards improving our diversity efforts at every level.  MORE >

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  • Nearly 20 percent of Fenwick partners are ranked by Chambers
  • Consistently ranked among the top 10 law firms in the U.S. for diversity
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USPTO Regulations Could Impose Steep Fees on Patent Reexamination

February 08, 2012

Rajiv Patel, a partner in the Intellectual Property Group of Fenwick & West, was quoted in the Law360 article "USPTO Regs Could Impose Steep Fees on Patent Challengers."

Now that patent reform has been signed into law, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has released their proposed rules for administrative procedures to challenge issued patents, including post-grant and inter partes reviews. While these proceedings will provide litigation alternatives, they are also costly and could put additional strain on the USPTO.

The fees associated with these proceedings are based on estimates by the American Intellectual Property Law Association, but the amounts may be misleading, as the agency did not define what goes into the preparation, and the complexity of proceedings can depend on what invalidity arguments are at issue, the amount of prior art and other factors, according to Fenwick & West partner Rajiv Patel.

"It would be better to propose a range of costs than a number that could be too low in some instances or too high in other instances," Patel said. However, the fees are still far below the cost of litigation, according to Patel.

"For a cash-constrained company, these proceedings give them options to challenge a patent without taking on the burden of full-blown litigation," he said. "Even if a company has the means to take on litigation, these proceedings allow it to strategically plan when it should opt for litigation and when it should counter with less costly post-grant and inter partes reviews."

While the USPTO fees may seem steep to many companies, the procedures do provide more options when contesting a patent, according to Patel.

"Companies have more tools available to challenge patents that they believe lack validity and more flexibility with respect to matching the appropriate proceeding with their business strategy," he said.

Click here to read the full Law360 article (subscription required).