Odyssey Logistics & Technology Corp. v. Iancu, No. 19-1066 (Fed. Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Odyssey filed the 678 patent application in 2004. After several procedural disputes and appeals, the Patent Board reversed an examiner’s rejections. The Technology Center Director issued an “examiner’s request for rehearing.” Odyssey did not address the merits, objecting to the procedural propriety of the request, and requesting reconsideration. Odyssey eventually made merits arguments, but without waiting for the Board’s decision, it sought judicial review.
Odyssey filed its 603 application in 2006. After a final rejection of all claims, Odyssey appealed and filed a petition demanding that the examiner make certain evidence part of the written record and supplement his responses. The examiner further explained his decision. The Technology Center Director dismissed the petition as moot. Odyssey believed that the examiner’s answer to its appeal brief included new grounds for rejection. The Technology Center Director dismissed that assertion. Rather than filing a brief replying to the examiner’s answer, Odyssey sought judicial review.
The PTO amended its rules of practice in ex parte appeals; final rules were published in November 2011, applicable to all ex parte appeals filed on or after January 23, 2012. Odyssey challenged the legality of these amendments.
The Federal Circuit affirmed the dismissal of all three claims. In the first two counts, Odyssey was challenging actions not yet final before the Board; the Board could provide Odyssey with an adequate remedy, and if not, Odyssey had remedies under 35 U.S.C. 141 or 145. Count III was untimely under 28 U.S.C. 2401, the six-year statute of limitations for a facial APA challenge, which runs from the date the regulations were published. The complaint was filed in January 2018.