SpaceX Barge Landing Patent Petition Challenge Denied - and Accepted

UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE BEFORE THE PATENT TRIAL AND APPEAL BOARD SPACE EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGIES CORP., Petitioner, v. BLUE ORIGIN LLC, Patent Owner. Case IPR2014-01376 Patent 8,678,321 B2. Paper 6

"Space Exploration Technologies Corp. ("SpaceX") filed a Petition ("Pet.") for inter partes review of U.S. Patent No. 8,678,321 B2 ("the '321 patent"). The Petition challenges the patentability of claims 14 and 15 of the '321 patent on the ground of obviousness under 35 U.S.C. 103.1 Blue Origin LLC, the owner of the '321 patent, did not file a Preliminary Response to the Petition."

"IV. CONCLUSION Because the challenged claims are not amenable to construction, we are unable to reach a determination on the reasonable likelihood of SpaceX prevailing on the prior art ground asserted in the Petition.

V. ORDER For the foregoing reasons, it is ORDERED that the Petition is denied."

Keith's note: The title of this post is taken directly from words and statements used in the USPTO decision. Read the document. As best as I can figure this legal mumbo jumbo out, everyone involved is confused about what the patent claims and whether it can be challenged - and if so, how. Yet the SpaceX Internet fan boys are all over social media chastising non-believers and saying that this is a big win for SpaceX while others are saying that its a win for Blue Origin. Indeed, sources inside SpaceX now say that this decision is good for them.

If SpaceX thinks that this decision is good for them - and they want people to know that this is good for them - then they need to put out a statement that says so. Expecting the Internet to figure it out - clearly and accurately - and then tell the world - is not going to work.

Keith's update: But wait. There's more. There is another USPTO document (see excerpt below) that just fell out of cyberspace into my inbox wherein USPTO agrees with claims made by SpaceX. Taken together these two documents are not a formal decision for - or against - Blue Origin/SpaceX. The patent is still the patent and more lawyers will need to weigh in before anyone changes anything in that patent - if anything is ever changed. My point still stands with regard to letting Internet chatter suffice for statements by the actual parties to this dispute (SpaceX and Blue Origin) and I await their responses/non-responses.

UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE BEFORE THE PATENT TRIAL AND APPEAL BOARD SPACE EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGIES CORP., Petitioner, v. BLUE ORIGIN LLC, Patent Owner. Case IPR2014-01376 Patent 8,678,321 B2, Paper 7

"Space Exploration Technologies Corp. ("SpaceX") filed a Petition ("Pet.") for inter partes review of U.S. Patent No. 8,678,321 B2 ("the '321 patent"). The Petition challenges the patentability of claims 1-13 of the '321 patent under 35 U.S.C. §§ 102 and 103.1 Blue Origin LLC, the owner of the '321 patent, did not file a Preliminary Response to the Petition. We have jurisdiction under 35 U.S.C. § 314(a). After considering the Petition, we conclude that SpaceX has demonstrated a reasonable likelihood that it would prevail in showing unpatentability of the challenged claims. Thus, we institute an inter partes review of claims 1-13 of the '321 patent.

IV. CONCLUSION On the current record, SpaceX has demonstrated a reasonable likelihood of prevailing on the asserted ground of anticipation of claims 1-3 by Ishijima under 35 U.S.C. § 102 and the asserted grounds of obviousness of claims 4-13 over Ishijima and variant combinations of Lane, Mueller, Waters, Spencer, and Kindem under 35 U.S.C. § 103. As such, we authorize institution of an inter partes review of claims 1-13 of the '321 patent. Our decision to institute acts as a preliminary measure of SpaceX's evidence as having enough merit to take the case to trial. Blue Origin may now come forward with argument and evidence in response to SpaceX's prima facie proof of unpatentability.3

V. ORDER For the foregoing reasons, it is ORDERED that, pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 314(a), inter partes review of claims 1-13 of the '321 patent is instituted on the grounds of anticipation under 35 U.S.C. § 102 and obviousness under 35 U.S.C. § 103; and FURTHER ORDERED that pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 314(c) and 37 C.F.R. § 42.4, inter partes review of the '321 patent shall commence on the entry date of this Order, and notice is hereby given of the institution of a trial."

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on March 5, 2015 7:42 AM.

Today's NASA Budget Hearing (with Video) was the previous entry in this blog.

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