In IPR2012-00035, on January 22, 2013, the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (“PTAB”) (A.P.J.s Lane, Robertson and Guest) issued an order concerning an ex parte email sent by Petitioner Nissan North America, Inc. (“Petitioner”). According to the Petitioner’s email, in its Preliminary Response the Patent Owner made arguments based on an obvious mathematical error, e.g., stating that .5 microns is 500 angstroms when it actually is 5000 angstroms. In its ex parte email, the Petitioner asked for the proper procedure for requesting the Board to take judicial notice of this “false statement.”
In its Order, the PTAB expressed concerned about the manner and content of the Petitioner’s ex parte email to the Board:
The error asserted by Nissan is not the subject of this Order. Instead it is the manner and content of the Nissan email that are of concern. It is troubling that Nissan contacted the Board and included information to rebut the Collins Preliminary Response without authorization to do so. It is even more troubling that Nissan did so without providing Collins with a copy of the email. Communications with a Judge or other Board member regarding a specific proceeding is not permitted unless both parties have an opportunity to be involved in the communications. 37 CFR 42.5(d). The Practice Guide notes certain exceptions to the prohibition, e.g., where a party seeks to arrange a conference call. The Nissan email does not fall into any of the listed exceptions.