Court: PTO Exiled Inventor’s Applications to a “Proverbial Never-Never Land”

In a decision last week, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the PTO’s claim that independent inventor Gilbert Hyatt engaged in unreasonable and abusive delay on his patent applications. Instead, the Court found, the PTO had placed Mr. Hyatt’s applications “in a proverbial Never-Never Land,” blocking Mr. Hyatt from prosecuting them for approximately a decade.

The Court also had stern words for the PTO’s argument that Mr. Hyatt’s litigation prompted it to block progress on his applications:

The suspensions between 2003 and 2012 appear largely to be responses to pending litigation, not the applications, themselves. To the extent PTO resents having had to devise “unusual procedures … that were not needed with respect to other applicants, who for example, did not litigate regarding procedural issue[s] and did not file Section 145 appeals,” the Court finds that sentiment to be somewhere between vexing and outright galling. It takes a certain chutzpah for a government agency to chafe against citizens seeking to vindicate their rights through lawfully available means, even in those cases where the opposing party’s litigious zeal is itself remarkable for any number of reasons.

(citations omitted).

Read the full opinion:

Lamberth Laches Decision


In a separate decision, the Court also found that Mr. Hyatt was entitled to the issuance of patents on all three of the applications that went to trial. Read that opinion:

Lamberth Merits Decision