USPTO: Proposed Changes to Terminal Disclaimer Practice in Joint Research Agreement Situations

Attorney: Marina I. Miller, Ph.D.
February 1, 2021

The USPTO proposes to modify the rules of practice when certain types of patent applicants and patentees may obtain or enforce a second patent for an invention that is similar (i.e., patentably indistinct) to a first patent. Generally, an application for a second patent covering a similar invention would be rejected. The proposed rule change is limited to the situation where owners of the first and second patents or patent applications are different but have an agreement to conduct research together (i.e., a joint research agreement or JRA). The proposed rule change would increase the ability to file a terminal disclaimer (TD) that ties the rights of a second patent to the first patent. The proposed rule change intends to expand when a TD can be filed in the JRA situation by eliminating the requirement that the second patent or patent application be filed later than the first patent or patent application. The USPTO also proposes to amend the rules to explicitly state existing practices in the rules regarding when certain affidavits and declarations, as well as TDs, may be filed.<... Read more

Small Entity Government Use License Exception: Amendment of the Rules of Practice in Patent Cases

Attorney: Marina I. Miller, Ph.D.
January 4, 2021

The USPTO is amending the rules of practice in patent cases to clarify and expand exceptions to the rule pertaining to government use licenses and their effect on small entity status for purposes of paying reduced patent fees. The USPTO explained that the rule change is designed to support independent inventors, small business concerns, and nonprofit organizations in filing patent applications and to encourage collaboration with the Federal Government by expanding the opportunities to qualify for the small entity patent fees discount for inventions made during the course of federally funded or federally supported research.<... Read more

Must a "Human Antibody" Be Entirely Human? Or May It Also Be "Partially Human?"

Attorney: Marina I. Miller, Ph.D.
October 16, 2020

This is a consolidated appeal from two Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) decisions in inter partes reviews (“IPRs”) of U.S. Patent 8,679,487 (“the ’487 patent”), owned by Immunex Corp. (“Immunex”). Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC, Genzyme Corp., and Regeneron Pharmaceuti-cals, Inc. (“Sanofi”) challenged the ’487 patent. The Board invalidated all challenged claims in IPR 2017-01884. Immunex appealed, contesting the construction of the claim term “human antibodies.” The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“the Court”) agreed with the Board’s claim construction and affirmed the invalidity decision.<... Read more

Invalidity Based on Enablement: McRO, Inc. dba Planet Blue v. Bandai Namco Games America Inc., et al., No. 2019-1577 (Fed. Cir. May 20, 2020)

Attorney: Marina I. Miller, Ph.D.
September 1, 2020

McRO, Inc. (“McRO”) filed a lawsuit against multiple video game developers (“the Developers”), alleging that the Developers infringed three method claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,611,278 (“the ‘278 patent”), owned by McRO. The district court held the claims invalid for ineligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101, but the Federal Circuit (“the Court”) reversed that holding in McRO, Inc. v. Bandai Namco Games America Inc., 837 F.3d 1299 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (McRO I). On remand, the district court held that the Developers were entitled to summary judgment of non-infringement, because the accused products do not practice the claimed methods and to summary judgment of invalidity because the specification fails to enable the full scope of the claims. McRO appealed.<... Read more

An Automated Notification System for Providing Advance Notification of the Pickup or Delivery of Goods was Found Patent Ineligible

Attorney: Marina I. Miller, Ph.D.
July 20, 2020

Electronic Communication Technologies, LLC (“ECT”) sued ShoppersChoice.com, LLC (“ShoppersChoice”), alleging that ShoppersChoice infringed claim 11 of U.S. Patent 9,373,261 (“the ’261 patent”). The district court granted ShoppersChoice’s motion for judgment on the pleadings that claim 11 was invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101. ECT appealed. The Federal Circuit (“the Court”) affirmed the judgment of the district court.<... Read more

Requirements Under COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program

Attorney: Marina I. Miller, Ph.D.
June 8, 2020

The USPTO has launched a new Covid-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program to help small and micro entities. The USPTO will accept requests for prioritized examination of up to 500 qualifying patent applications without requiring payment of certain fees associated with prioritized examination. Under this pilot, the USPTO will advance out of turn certain patent applications related to COVID-19 for examination, resulting in their prioritized examination. The USPTO aims to provide final disposition of patent applications in the pilot in one year or less after it grants prioritized status. <... Read more

Obviousness of Compounds Having "Significant Structural and Functional Similarities" With Known Compounds

Attorney: Marina I. Miller, Ph.D.
April 27, 2020

Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. and others (“Mylan”) appealed from the District Court’s grant of summary judgment that claim 8 of U.S. Patent 8,552,025 owned by Valeant Pharm. Int’l, Inc.was not invalid. Valeant Pharm. Int’l, Inc. v. Mylan Pharm., Inc., No. 2:15-cv-08180 (SRC), 2018 WL 2023537 (D.N.J. May 1, 2018). The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“the Court”) reversed the decision of the district court.<... Read more

"A Method of Preparation" and Patent Eligibility Under Section 101

Attorney: Marina I. Miller, Ph.D.
March 30, 2020

Before LOURIE, MOORE, and REYNA, Circuit Judges. Illumina, Inc. and Sequenom, Inc. ("Illumina") filed suit against Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc., Roche Sequencing Solutions, Inc., and Roche Molecular Systems, Inc. ("Roche") alleging infringement of U.S. Patents 9,580,751 and 9,738,931. Roche moved for summary judgment that the asserted claims were invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The district court granted Roche's motion holding that the claims of the '751 and '931 patents were directed to ineligible subject matter. Illumina appealed. The Federal Circuit ("the Court") reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment and remanded for further proceedings.... Read more

Repeated Description of an Embodiment as the Present Invention that Solves Problems in the Prior Art may Lead to Disavowal of Claim Scope, Even Without an Express Concession of Other Embodiments

Attorney: Marina I. Miller, Ph.D.
January 3, 2020

Multiple companies (collectively "Techtronic Industries" or "TTI") appealed from a final determination of the United States International Trade Commission (the "Commission") that their imported product (garage door opener products) infringed the claims of U.S. Patent 7,161,319 (the "319 patent").... Read more

Patent Eligibility Under 35 U.S.C. 101 of Articles of Manufacture

Attorney: Marina I. Miller, Ph.D.
November 6, 2019

FYF-JB, LLC sued Pet Factory, Inc. for infringing its U.S. Patent 9,681,643 ("the ‘643 patent") covering a tug toy for animals that emits a sound when it is pulled on both sides. Pet Factory moved to dismiss FYF-JB's complaint, arguing that the asserted claims were directed to patent ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ("the Court") denied Pet Factory's motion to dismiss.... Read more