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Knobbe Martens Client STAR Envirotech Wins Affirmance of IPR Decision Finding Patent Valid

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


On December 31, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s decision that a STAR Envirotech patent relating to its evaporative emission testing tools is valid and not obvious.

STAR designs and develops tools for testing vehicle evaporative emission control systems. STAR’s tools are mandated for use by many leading automobile manufacturers, including GM, Ford and Chrysler. Based on an initial IPR petition by competitor Redline Detection, the Board initially determined that Redline had demonstrated a reasonable likelihood of proving that at least one of STAR’s patent claims was unpatentable. However, as a result of STAR’s persuasive evidence and arguments submitted during the 18-month-long IPR proceeding, Knobbe Martens was able to successfully defend STAR’s patent.  In an exceptional result (based on current statistics), the Board upheld the patentability of the challenged claims, resulting in a complete victory for STAR and the Knobbe Martens legal team.  Now, in a precedential 33-page opinion, the Federal Circuit has affirmed the Board’s opinion.

Knobbe Martens Partner and STAR’s lead appellate counsel Brenton Babcock stated: “We are pleased that both the PTAB and the Federal Circuit have agreed with our assessment, finding Star Envirotech's technology to be patentable.”  STAR was also represented on the appeal by Knobbe Martens Partners Ed Schlatter and Jared Bunker.

Inter Partes Reviews (IPRs) are proceedings recently created by Congress as part of the America Invents Act (AIA).  Current statistics indicate that a substantial majority of patents challenged in IPR proceedings have at least some, if not most, claims cancelled and/or amended. There have been only a small percentage of patents that have survived an IPR with all claims intact.

About Knobbe Martens

With over 300 lawyers and scientists nationwide, Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP dedicates its practice to all aspects of intellectual property law, including post-grant review proceedings before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Consistently ranked among the top intellectual property firms worldwide, Knobbe Martens serves a diverse group of clients from multinational corporations to emerging businesses of all stages.  Headquartered in Orange County, California, Knobbe Martens also has offices in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Seattle and Washington, D.C.  More information about the firm can be found at


Nicholas Gaffney 415-732-7801

Meet the Knobbe Martens Attorneys

Brent Babcock represents high-technology clients in every aspect of intellectual property disputes, focusing on federal district court litigation throughout the country, trials and...
Chair of the firm’s Mechanical Engineering Group, Ed Schlatter advises on developing and executing worldwide patent and trademark protection strategies for a wide array of clients,...
Jared Bunker is a litigation partner in the firm’s Orange County office.  Jared represents and counsels clients in intellectual property disputes relating to patents, trademarks,...
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