Steven M. Auvil


This note will discuss the circumstances under which it is appropriate for a court to exercise its authority to stay patent validity litigation pending reexamination of the patent-in-suit. The question must be analyzed with due regard to the unique relationship that exists between Patent Office reexamination and district court litigation. As a point of departure, the note explains the substance and procedure of statutory reexamination. Secondly, it will discuss the possible effects that reexamination may have on concurrent litigation in a district court. Thirdly, the note will examine the discernible factors that courts have considered in deciding whether to suspend litigation pending a result from reexamination. Fourthly, it will offer guidelines as to how a court will likely dispose of the issue in view of the interests and policies involved; and, in addition, it will offer an omnibus standard for deciding the question, which is formulated consistent with precedent. Lastly, the note recapitulates the context in which the subject issue arises and identifies the over-arching policy considerations that are implicated in the decision-making process.