The America Invents Act of 2011 overhauled the U.S. Patent system and established three types of administrative review proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that enable a “person’ other than the patent owner to challenge the validity of an issued patent: 1) an “inter-partes” review; (2) a “post grant review” and (3) a “covered business method” review.

In the case of Return Mail v. U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Supreme Court found that in the absence of an express definition of the term “person” in the AIA, the longstanding interpretive presumption is that a “person” does not include the sovereign, thus barring the Federal Government (including governmental agencies such as the Postal Service) from standing to bring AIA patent challenges.

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