Standing by BRI

A Review of the Broadest Reasonable Interpretation Standard at the PTAB

Margaret M. Welsh

©2017. Published in Landslide, Vol. 9, No. 3, January/February 2017, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

In Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC v. Lee, the Supreme Court noted that for more than a century the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has applied the broadest reasonable interpretation (BRI) standard for claim construction.1 However, a claim construction standard for USPTO proceedings is not demanded by statute. Instead, pursuant to its rulemaking authority, the USPTO has adopted that a “claim in an unexpired patent . . . shall be given its broadest reasonable construction in light of the specification of the patent in which it appears.”2 In Cuozzo, the Supreme Court stood by the USPTO’s standard, and held that the USPTO had the authority to apply BRI in inter partes review (IPR) proceedings.3

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