Supreme Court Holds “Expenses” Exclude PTO Employee Salaries in Civil Action Challenges Under the Patent Act

By Daniel M. Staren and David G. Barker The Supreme Court unanimously held that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) may not recover the salaries of its legal personnel as “expenses” in a civil action challenging an adverse decision by the PTO under the Patent Act. The Court’s decision in Peter v. NantKwest affirmed a Federal Circuit en banc decision that premised its holding on the American Rule, which provides that each litigant is responsible for its own attorneys’ fees unless a statute or contract provides otherwise. NantKwest owned a patent application directed to a method for treating   Read More »

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