In re Rudy and the PTO 101 Guidance

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
April 22, 2021

The USPTO 101 Guidance document has been under a cloud when Judge Brinkema refused to follow the guidance in Cleveland Clinic Found. V. True Health Diagnostics LLC., affirmed at 760 F. App'x. 1013, 1020 (Fed. Cir. 2019). In Cleveland Clinic relied on Guidance example 29, claim 1 to assert that its claims were patent eligible since they were drafted in the same manner. The Federal Circuit in rejecting the argument found the 101 Guidance example 29, claim 1 to be "strikingly" similar to claim 1, see760 F. App'x. at 1020, which the Federal Circuit held was patent ineligible. The guidance teaches that example 29, claim 1 is patent eligible. The USPTO has not responded to the Court's criticism and example 29 continues to appear in the Guidance unchanged.... Read more

GlaxoSmithKline v. Teva - Not a Skinny Label?

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
March 1, 2021

The decision in GlaxoSmithKline LLC. V Teva Pharms. (976 F.3d 1347 (Fed. Cir. 2020) has caused panic in the generic industry because it has been interpreted as killing the “skinny label” approach to generic drug approval. A “skinny label” allows a generic company where there are multiple approved indications for a drug and some are protected by patent and others are not, to omit the patented indications from its label and avoid the need for a paragraph (iv) certification and 35 U.S.C. 217(e)(2) litigation. During the oral argument on February 23, 2021, on remand to the original panel, it became clear that the skinny label exception is not under attack although you wouldn’t know it from the Federal Circuit’s decision or the press reports.<... Read more

The "Skinny Label" - The Federal Circuit Has Second Thoughts

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
February 10, 2021

On Tuesday the Federal Circuit vacated its decision in GlaxoSmithKline LLC. V. Teva Parma., USA, Inc., 976 F.3d 1347 (Fed. Cir. 2020) in response to GSK’s request for rehearing en banc. In vacating the decision and deciding to rehear the case, the panel limited the rehearing to Teva’s question in its en banc petition as “whether there was substantial evidence to support the jury’s verdict of induced infringement.”<... Read more

The Purple Book Continuity Act

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
January 8, 2021

The Congress passed and President on December 22 signed into law the “Further Extension of Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021”; despite its name it was chock full of goodies having nothing to do the nation’s need for a budget to pay its bills. One of the unrelated measures was the “Purple Book Continuity Act of 2019” (aka H.R. 1520). While the official text hasn’t been released yet, the Act’s content can be gleaned from the House report on H.R. 1520. The Act requires the FDA within 180 days to create in electronic format a searchable compendium of all licensed biologic products containing the license number, its date of approval, the marketing or license status. It requires updates every 30 days to include newly licensed products in the preceding 30 days. The FDA is also required to list each exclusivity period for a listed product that is applicable and has not expired.  If a product’s license was withdrawn for safety, purity, or potency reasons the product must be removed from the list with notice published in the Federal Register.<... Read more

GSK v Teva – The Federal Circuit's First Look at Skinny Labels and 35 U.S.C. 271(b)

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
December 7, 2020

In GSK v Teva the Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s JMOL and reinstated the jury’s verdict awarding $235 million in damages to GSK for Teva’s sale of $75 million dollars of carvedilol the generic equivalent of GSK’s Coreg®, even though the patents on the drug and all but one of its uses had expired.<... Read more

Safe Harbor (35 U.S.C. 271(e)(1)) and Medical Devices

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
October 13, 2020

In two decisions this year district courts have addressed the “safe harbor” provision of 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(1) in motions to dismiss a patent infringement count. The first involved the display of artificial heart valves by Meril Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd. (Meril) at the 2019 Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics Conference (“TCT Conference”) in San Francisco, California. Edwards Life Sciences Corporation (Edwards) asserted that the display infringed its 5 patents on the displayed valves under §§ 271(a) and (g) by importing the valves made using its patented process. Meril defended by asserting that such display was protected by the safe harbor provision. The facts were not favorable. First, Meril did not have a marketing application pending with the FDA. While a pending application is unnecessary there must be evidence that the acts were calculated to lead to the possible submission of such evidence. See Merck KGaA v. Integra Lifesciences I, Ltd., 545 U.S. 193, 202 (2005).    Alternatively, the activity was at least in part to attract clinical investigators for FDA trails. See Telectronics Pacing Systems, Inc. v. Ventritex, Inc., 982 F.2d 1520, 1523 (Fed. Cir. 1992). There was no evidence that defendants  recruited or could have recruited investigators for studies that could be submitted to the FDA. Edwards asserted that Meril’s sole objective was to promote sales in Europe. Thus, Teletronics was deemed irrelevant.<... Read more

A Diagnostic Patent Is Found Patent Eligible At the Federal Circuit

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
August 4, 2020

In March the Federal Circuit reversed a lower court decision finding Illumina’s patents (U.S.Ps. 9,580,751 and 9,738,931) for diagnosing Down’s Syndrome to be patent ineligible, 952 F.3d 1367 (Fed. Cir. 2020). On August 3, the Federal Circuit denied a petition for rehearing and rehearing enbanc but did issue a new decision adding the term “human-engineered” in several portions of the opinion discussing the separation of fetal DNA from maternal DNA which the inventors had discovered were of different sizes, fetal cell DNA is shorter than the maternal DNA. The inventors recognized that the DNA to be analyzed for genetic aberrations was that of the fetus. The problem was to isolate the small amount of fetal DNA from the maternal DNA so the fetal DNA could be analyzed for genetic aberrations. Prior to the invention there was no known way to distinguish and separate maternal DNA from the tiny fraction of fetal DNA present. The inventors found that by selectively removing DNA having more than 500 or 300 base pairs they could produce a sample where the fetal DNA content in the sample would be enriched and analyzed. The following claim is exemplary:<... Read more

Can One Have Too Many Patents?

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
July 7, 2020

As is common with a blockbuster drug, AbbVie's Humira faced an antitrust challenge from third-party payers. The third-party payers filed an antitrust action claiming AbbVie's patent strategy stifled competition by forcing prospective competitors to settle on terms allowing Humira to enjoy a monopoly long after patent protection should have ended. The complaint alleges that AbbVie cornered the market for Humira and its biosimilars by obtaining a thicket of patents which allowed it to gain the market power it needed to prevent competitors from entering the U.S. market (violation of Sherman Act section 2). It used this market power to enter into settlement agreements with potential competitors to keep their products out of the U.S. market in return for early launch dates in Europe, also an important market which they termed a pay-for delay and market division (violation of Sherman Act section 1). Judge Shah, of the Northern District of Illinois, dismissed the complaint without prejudice on June 8, 2020. The opinion begins with a discussion of three reasons Humira might hold its commanding position foreshadowing his decision. First, the more than one hundred Humira-related patents made it difficult if not impossible to seek a non-infringing competing product.... Read more

FDA Seeking Comments on Orange Book Patent Listing

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
June 29, 2020

The FDA has published a public notice requesting comments on the submission and listing of patent information. See the notice here. The information requested could lead to the implementation of changes having a significant impact on pharma, including combination products in the future, especially on combination products.<... Read more

MCRO's Pyrrhic Victory

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
May 21, 2020

On May 20 the Federal Circuit for the second time found McRO’s patent for automatically generating animations to be patentable, this time reversing the district court’s finding of invalidity for lack of enablement. In its previous decision, McRO, Inc. v. Bandai Namco Games America Inc., 837 F.3d 1299 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (McRO I), the Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s holding that the claims were directed to a judicial exception, an abstract idea. In McRo I the Court had reversed based on its determination that the claims were to a genus limited to rules with certain common characteristics, a genus. Id. at 1313. In particular, the “rules are limiting in that they define morph weight sets as a function of the timing of phoneme sub-sequences.” Id. <... Read more