Patent Office Director David J. Kappos ordered an unprecedented third reexamination of Leader’s patent to the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (“PTAB“), even after Facebook had failed on the same arguments four times previously.
Kappos assigned a former IBM and Microsoft employee, Stephen C. Siu, as chief judge and staffed this PTAB kangaroo court with IBM, Xerox and Microsoft cronies—who had collectively issued over 169 patents to those companies. One of the staff attorneys, William J. Stoffel, even lists Facebook interests as conflicts (IBM, Fidelity, Vanguard). Fidelity and Vanguard were two of the largest pre-IPO mutual fund investors in the Facebook. Kappos himself owned up to $1.1 million in Vanguard shares. Not a single Patent Office official involved with the 3rd re-exam disclosed their myriad of Leader and Facebook conflicts. Predictably, on Oct. 17, 2012, this PTAB kangaroo court invalidated the entire patent, mysteriously reversing ten years of opinion to the contrary, and now affirming Microsoft and Xerox prior art, even though a jury had decided otherwise.