Patent Year in Review: Key Decisions, Trends, and Strategies

Doctrine of Equivalents, PTAB Appeals, Obviousness, Written Description, Inequitable Conduct, and More

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE video webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Thursday, February 25, 2021

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will guide patent counsel on recent trends and developments in patent practice. The panel will examine the Supreme Court, Federal Circuit, and PTAB cases from the past year and discuss some of the key developments and strategies.


Though the Supreme Court wields the biggest hammer in the U.S., the Court has primarily passed on granting recent petitions for certiorari in patent cases this past year. However, in April 2020, a divided Court held that a PTAB determination of whether an IPR petition is timely under 35 U.S.C. Section 315(b) cannot be judicially reviewed [Thryv v. Click-to-Call, 140 S. Ct. 1367 (Apr. 20, 2020)].

The Federal Circuit issued several important decisions in fundamental aspects of patent law, including the doctrine of equivalents, obviousness, written description, inventorship/ownership, claim construction and inequitable conduct. Of particular interest is the revival of application of exceptions rebutting the Festo presumption in the doctrine of equivalents analysis. For written description and enablement, we continue to see a trend towards a stricter application of the requirements. The Federal Circuit also issued several decisions on procedural aspects of patentability trials conducted at the PTAB.

Of late, there has been significant interest in the PTAB's policy, rules, precedential decisions, and law as to institution decisions. This interest is exemplified in part by the October 2020 PTAB request for comments on discretionary institution decisions that drew over 800 submitted comments.

Listen as our authoritative panel of patent attorneys examines cases from the past year and will discuss some of the key developments, important trends, and strategies.



  1. Supreme Court decision
  2. Federal Circuit decisions
    1. Doctrine of equivalents
    2. Section 103
    3. Section 112
    4. Inventorship/ownership
    5. Claim construction
    6. Inequitable conduct
    7. PTAB appeals
  3. Important PTAB decisions


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • Key patent decisions in the Federal Circuit and Supreme Court and the impact on patent practice
  • Impact of recent PTAB decisions on patent practice
  • Lessons from recent decisions and strategies going forward


Bosch, Michele
Michele C. Bosch

Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner

Ms. Bosch leads the firm’s Chemical and Metallurgical practice group. Her practice includes many areas of...  |  Read More

Browning, Paul
Paul W. Browning, Ph.D.

Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner

Dr. Browning focuses on patent litigation and appeals. He has led teams as first chair at trial, at Markman...  |  Read More

Irving, Thomas
Thomas L. Irving

Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner

Mr. Irving has 35 years of experience in the field of IP law. His practice includes due diligence, patent prosecution,...  |  Read More

Wilner, Brooke
Brooke M. Wilner

Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner

Ms. Wilner’s practice includes patent litigation, patent prosecution, and proceedings before the U.S. Patent and...  |  Read More

Gao, Michelle
Xiaoguang Michelle Gao, Ph.D., J.D.

Assistant General Patent Counsel
Eli Lilly and Company

Dr. Gao provides IP support for Lilly BioMedicines assets and the Lilly Biotechnology Center in San Diego.  She...  |  Read More

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