No Free Rein For USPTO In Rejecting Patents: Fed. Circ.

Law360, Los Angeles (October 5, 2011, 4:25 PM EDT) -- Ruling in favor of chemical manufacturer Stepan Co., the Federal Circuit said Wednesday that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office doesn't have free discretion to designate a new ground of rejection when its appeals panel relies on different facts not available to the patent examiner.

A three-judge panel said in an opinion that the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences violated the notice rights of Stepan under the Administrative Procedure Act in affirming an examiner's ruling that all claims in the company's patent were invalid under...
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