The Supreme Court issued its Cuozzo opinion on June 20, 2016, affirming that (1) PTAB decisions to institute an inter partes review are not appealable and (2) that the PTAB may use broadest reasonable interpretation (BRI) in construing patent claims for inter partes review.
In deciding that PTAB institution decisions are not appealable, the Supreme Court restricted the breadth of its opinion to potentially allow appeals on constitutional issues, interplay with other statutes, or issues “well beyond” the issues before the Court. The Cuozzo opinion explicitly suggests that overreaching statutory authority (such as cancelling a claim for §112 indefiniteness) might be appealable.
In deciding that inter partes review can use BRI, the Supreme Court used Chevron deference. Under Chevron deference (Chevron U. S. A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U. S. 837 (1984)), an agency may enact reasonable rules to fill in gaps or resolve ambiguities in a statute. As Congress did not state whether to use BRI or district-court-style claim construction, the Supreme Court decided it was reasonable for the PTO to select BRI.