Chudik v. Hirshfeld, No. 20-1833 (Fed. Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Dr. Chudik applied to the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) for a patent on his “Guide for Shoulder Surgery” in 2006. The PTO examiner issued a second rejection in 2010. Rather than taking an appeal to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (35 U.S.C. 134(a)), Chudik requested continued examination (section 132(b)). In 2014, the examiner again rejected his claims. Chudik appealed to the Board. Instead of filing an answer, the examiner reopened prosecution and rejected the claims as unpatentable on a different ground; that process repeated in 2016. In 2017, while Chudik’s fourth notice of appeal from an examiner rejection was pending, the examiner issued another rejection, which led to a notice of allowance after Chudik altered his claims. Chudik’s patent issued in 2018.
The PTO awarded Chudik a patent term adjustment of 2,066 days (35 U.S.C. 154(b)) but rejected Chudik’s claim for an additional 655 days of “C-delay,” for the time his four notices of appeal were pending in the PTO. C-delay covers appellate review by the Board or a federal court in a case in which the patent was issued under a decision in the review reversing an adverse determination of patentability. The PTO concluded that, in light of the reopening of prosecution, the Board’s jurisdiction never attached and there was no Board or reviewing court reversal. The district court and Federal Circuit affirmed. C-delay for “appellate review” requires a reversal by the Board or a court.