The United States Supreme Court today unanimously decided to permit the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) to continue using a tougher standard for claims construction than the standard applied in litigation. In Cuozzo Speed Technologies LLC v. Lee, the Court ruled that the PTAB’s application of the so-called “broadest reasonable interpretation” standard was consistent with the “reasonable exercise of rulemaking authority that Congress delegated to the patent office.” The Court also declined to overturn an earlier Federal Circuit ruling that the PTAB’s decision to institute a review under the America Invents Act (“AIA”) is not reviewable on appeal.

Cuozzo is an important decision since it will affect not only how patent attorneys draft patent applications, but also strategic choices of whether to pursue invalidation of patents through PTAB proceedings, such as post-grant review or inter partes review, or through litigation. All things being equal, under Cuozzo, patents are more likely to be invalidated using the broadest reasonable interpretation standard since a broadly construed claim is more susceptible to arguments that the invention is anticipated or made obvious by prior art or that the patent claim is indefinite.