The US Supreme Court has held that that inter partes review (IPR) proceedings, an administrative system for challenging patents, are not in violation of either Article III or the Seventh Amendment of the Constitution.  Plaintiff had argued that the entire system IPR was unconstitutional because executive branch tribunals lacked authority to invalidate patents. Justice Thomas, writing for a 7-2 majority Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC described a patent grant as matter that is a public right and that the IPR proceedings  involve essentially the same matter as the grant of a patent.  Consequently, the Constitution does not prohibit the Patent Office from resolving issues of validity after grant outside of an Article III court. Important to the analysis was the lack of distinction between IPR proceedings and the initial grant of the patent because “[p]atent claims are granted subject to the qualification that the PTO has ‘the authority to reexamine – and perhaps cancel – a patent claim’ in an inter partes review.”

Notably, this opinion only addressed the precise challenges and the narrowness of the holding was emphasized.  The full decision can be found at