The U.S. Patent Office (“PTO”) has historically moved at a snail’s pace in conducting reexamination proceedings. The length of these reexamination proceedings have typically been the Achilles heel in getting a district court to issue a stay. If the District Court for the Central District of California is any guide, though, this may be changing due to the new time limits for post-grant patent review procedures, which became effective September 16, 2012 and are specified in the America Invents Act (“AIA”). In a recent order issued in Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co., Ltd. v. Chimei Innolux Corp., et al., 8:12-cv-00021, (CACD December 19, 2012 Order), Judge Josephine Tucker granted defendants request for a stay, explaining as a basis for granting the stay that:
The delay caused by the new inter partes review (“IPR”) procedure is significantly less than the delay caused by the old procedure.
Based on the Court’s ruling, a practical consequence of the new IPR procedure is that the odds of getting the district court to enter a stay have improved. Here is why.