Prior Art Introduced During Prosecution Has Important Implications for 101 Challenges

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
September 19, 2019

Five years after Alice Corp. Pty. v. CLS Bank Int'l, 573 U.S. 208 (2014) and the institution of the Alice test, district courts are still wading through precedent set by the Federal Circuit while it attempts to apply the test. Recently, one New Mexico District Court turned to prior art introduced during the prosecution process that was aimed at the questions of novelty and non-obviousness to determine whether there was an "inventive concept" for the Alice/Mayo test.... Read more

Method-of-Treatment Claims, Comprising Excluding Certain Patients from Treatment, Found to Be Patent-Ineligible Under 35 U.S.C. § 101

Attorney: Matthew E. Barnet, Ph.D.
September 13, 2019

On August 27, 2019, in INO Therapeutics LLC v. Praxair Distribution Inc., in a 2-1 decision, the Federal Circuit upheld a district court decision that method-of-treatment claims, comprising excluding certain patients from treatment, were invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101.... Read more

Four Decisions Designated Informative on 101: Positive Trend for Life Sciences?

Attorney: Lisa M. Mandrusiak
July 2, 2019

In January, 2019, the USPTO issued new guidance about what constitutes an abstract idea that is ineligible for protection under Section 101. Among other things, the guidance emphasized that claims otherwise reciting a judicial exception (i.e., not patentable), would be permitted if they were directed to some type of practical application. See our previous post for more details.... Read more


Category: PTAB 101

The Proper Application of the Supreme Court's Alice Standard is an Evolving and Sometimes Hazy Area of Law

Attorney: Daniel J. Pereira, Ph.D.
April 29, 2019

Marijuana, for medical purposes and recreational purposes, is an area of great political, social and legal interest. By some accounts (https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomaspellechia/2018/03/01/double-digit-billions-puts-north-america-in-the-worldwide-cannabis-market-lead/#6d925dd76510), the industry is rapidly growing leaps and bounds. Not surprisingly, patents and disputes centered on patents for this industry are increasing in numbers.... Read more

Natural Alternatives - Claim Construction Defeats A 101 Challenge On The Pleadings

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
March 26, 2019

The Federal Circuit on March 19 in Natural Alternatives Intl. v Creative Compounds LLC. reversed a district court's opinion finding Natural's patent claims to be patent ineligible. The district court's decision arose out of a motion for judgment on the pleadings filed by Creative.... Read more


Category: Federal Circuit

Motions to Amend: Is the PTAB's Lectrosonics Order Just of Western Digital?

Attorney: Todd W. Baker
March 11, 2019

Spring gardening season has begun and the USPTO is once again planting its Motion to Amend ("MTA") seeds. In a substantial redux of Western Digital Corporation v. Spex Technologies, IPR2018-00082,-00084, paper 13, the PTAB this past week designated paper 15 of Lectrosonics v. Zaxcom, IPR2018-01129, 01130("Lectrosonics Order") as an informative decision.... Read more

The Federal Circuit Stays the Course in Patent Ineligibility for an Abstract Idea

Attorney: Daniel J. Pereira, Ph.D.
February 27, 2019

In a precedential opinion issued on February 26, 2019, the Federal Circuit affirmed the District Court's finding of patent ineligibility for a claim "directed to the abstract idea of "collecting, analyzing, manipulating, and displaying data."" University of Florida Research Foundation Inc. v General Electric Company et al (Fed. Cir. 2019).... Read more

Federal Circuit Reiterates That Nucleotide Sequences Are Not Patent Eligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101

Attorney: Matthew E. Barnet, Ph.D.
December 27, 2018

An article by Matthew Barnet on "Federal Circuit Reiterates That Nucleotide Sequences Are Not Patent Eligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101" is published in the IP Litigator journal. Click to read article.... Read more

The Federal Circuit Still Doesn't Get Diagnostic Claims

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
December 12, 2018

In Roche Diagnostics the Federal Circuit continued its failure to recognize that diagnostic claims were not patent ineligible because they used a natural law. Roche involved claims detecting the Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains (MTB) quickly and accurately. Prior to the invention delays often occurred in diagnosing tuberculosis because of the time necessary to detect its presence involved a three to eight week cell culture. Roche discovered that the MTB strains could be quickly identified by identifying the presence of specific nucleotide sequence which functioned as a signature for the MTB. The technique used to identify the presence or absence of the signature nucleotide was conventional PCR analysis. The Federal Circuit affirmed a finding the diagnostic claims to be patent ineligible because the PCR technique was conventional and nucleotides naturally occurring.... Read more

After SAS, Will Estoppel Also Apply to Grounds not Included in Petitions for Inter Partes Review and Post-Grant Review?

December 12, 2018

Since the Supreme Court's decision in SAS Institute Inc. v. Iancu, 138 S. Ct. 1348 (2018), there has been significant discussion on SAS's expected effect on estoppel for IPRs. Essentially universal opinion holds that estoppel will apply to all grounds raised in the IPR petition due to the all-or-nothing institution standard applied by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ("PTAB") in response to SAS. Post-SAS, final written decisions in IPRs will address all grounds raised in the petition if at least one ground meets the standard for institution, thus making estoppel applicable to all petition grounds as grounds "that the petitioner raised … during that inter partes review" under 35 U.S.C. § 315(e).... Read more

Federal Circuit Reiterates That Naturally-Occurring Nucleotide Sequences Are Not Patent Eligible Under 35 U.S.C. § 101

Attorney: Matthew E. Barnet, Ph.D.
October 12, 2018

On October 9, 2018, in Roche Molecular Systems, Inc. v. Cepheid, the Federal Circuit upheld a district court decision that claims reciting nucleotide primers in U.S. Patent No. 5,643,723 (“the ‘723 patent”) were invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101.<... Read more

Ex Parte Jadran Bandic – Patent Eligibility Analysis After Berkheimer

Attorney: Marina I. Miller, Ph.D.
June 4, 2018

In Ex Parte Bandic, the PTAB ("the Board") has given an insight into how the Office intends to examine patent eligibility under the two-step Alice test, considering the Memorandum published by the USPTO on April 19, 2018 explaining "Changes in Examination Procedure Pertaining to Subject Matter Eligibility" in view of Berkheimer v. HP Inc., 881 F.3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2018).... Read more

USPTO Webinar on Subject Matter Eligibility

Attorney: Daniel J. Pereira, Ph.D.
May 3, 2018

The USPTO announced that Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy Robert Bahr will be presenting a webinar pertaining to Subject Matter Eligibility on May 8, 2018 at noon (Eastern Time). See, https://www.uspto.gov/patent/initiatives/patent-quality-chat. The webinar "will discuss the USPTO's recently-issued memorandum implementing changes to examination procedure in view of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision in Berkheimer v. HP, Inc. This judicial decision provides clarification on the subject matter eligibility analysis." See also: https://www.oblon.com/publications/uspto-issues-memorandum-and-publishes-fed-reg-notice-for-comment-regarding-101-eligibility/... Read more

USPTO Issues Memorandum and Publishes Fed Reg Notice for Comment Regarding 101 Eligibility

Attorney: Daniel J. Pereira, Ph.D.
April 23, 2018

On April 20, 2018, the USPTO published (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-04-20/pdf/2018-08428.pdf) in the Federal Register a "Request for Comments on Determining Whether a Claim Element is Well-Understood, Routine, Conventional for Purposes of Subject Matter eligibility" that references a memorandum to the Examiner Corps the day before pertaining to examination procedure regarding Subject Matter Eligibility (https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/memo-berkheimer-20180419.PDF). The public comment period ends on August 20, 2018.... Read more

MPEP § 706.03(y) – Improper Markush Groups Unpatentable

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
April 2, 2018

As others have observed, the January 2018 MPEP revision instructs the examiners to reject Markush claims. It asserts that "this is a rejection on the merits and may be appealed to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board." Page 700-110. In form ¶ 8.40 it asserts as authority In re Harnisch, 631 F.2d 716, 721-2(CCPA 1980) and Ex Parte Hozumi, 3 USPQ2d 1050, 160 (Bd. Pat. App. & Int. 1984). No statutory authority exists since it has been held the restriction statute, 35 USC § 121 does not provide a basis for a substantive rejection of a claim. In re Weber, 580 F.2d 455 (CCPA 1978) and In re Haas, 580 F.2d 461 (CCPA 1978).... Read more

In Re Urvashi Bhagat: One More Decision Denying Patent Eligibility of Nature-Based Product Claims

Attorney: Marina I. Miller, Ph.D.
March 29, 2018

Urvashi Bhagat appealed the decision of the PTAB ("the Board") affirming the examiner's anticipation rejections and the rejection under Section 101 of multiple claims in application 12/426,034. The Federal Circuit affirmed the Board's decision in the recent In re Urvashi Bhagat nonprecedential opinion. The claims of this application were directed to lipid-containing formulations comprising omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. The '034 application stated that dietary deficiency or imbalance of these fatty acids might lead to a variety of illnesses, and that omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are naturally occurring in oils, butters, nuts, and seeds. The '034 application claimed ranges and ratios of the fatty acids and other limitations.... Read more

The Trials and Tribulations of Patent Eligibility of Natural Products at the PTAB

Attorney: Daniel J. Pereira, Ph.D.
March 8, 2018

As patent prosecution practitioners, we often look for direction from the judges at the PTAB, particularly when agreement cannot be reached at the examining level. This is very evident when there is imprecise guidance as to what constitutes patent eligible subject matter for inventions including natural products following the Supreme Court's decision in Myriad as well as the various iterations of PTO guidance and training materials. Here is a tale of two cases with two different panels (yet each panel interestingly includes one common APJ (New)) and each panel renders very different decisions.... Read more