The Supreme Court issued a ruling in Kappos v. Hyatt on April 18, 2012, that clarifies the rules regarding the introduction of new evidence in a district court action challenging a rejection of a patent application by the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences under 35 U.S.C. § 145. The Court affirmed a prior en banc Federal Circuit decision, holding there are no limitations on a patent applicant’s ability to introduce new evidence in a Section 145 proceeding beyond those present in the Federal Rules of Evidence and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In so holding, the Court rejected the Patent Office’s (PTO) contention that new evidence should be admissible only if the applicants had no reasonable opportunity to present the evidence during prosecution. The Court was also not persuaded that the Administrative Procedure Act or any other precedent precluded the introduction of new evidence or required the use of a deferential standard of review. Instead, the Court held that any new evidence introduced is evaluated under a de novo standard of review, though the district court does have discretion to consider the findings of the PTO when evaluating the new evidence.
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