The USPTO Strikes Again: More First Action Final Rejections = More Money + Diminished Quality

Attorney: Vincent K. Shier, Ph.D.
September 17, 2020

While looking at a first action final rejection after an RCE that I received this week from an Examiner that I respect, I was asking myself why I had received what appeared to be such a shockingly improper action. The answer was provided to me during part of the on-going IPO annual meeting.... Read more

USPTO Launches National Council for Expanding American Innovation

Attorney: Daniel J. Pereira, Ph.D.
September 16, 2020

On Monday, September 14, 2020, the USPTO issued a press release announcing the launch of "a major initiative aimed at expanding invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the United States." As the USPTO describes, the initiative stems from recommendations to facilitate women and minority participation in innovation and invention because the USPTO's own 2018 "Success Act" study found that both women and minorities were underrepresented in patents as inventors.... 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

Indefiniteness: Bad Translation, Lack of Definition or Both?

Attorney: Daniel J. Pereira, Ph.D.
August 17, 2020

The Federal Circuit affirms the lower court ruling that “half-liquid” translated from the original Italian “semiliquido” is indefinite in IBSA Institut Biochimique, S.A., Altergon, S.A., IBSA Pharma Inc. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. (Fed. Cir. July 31, 2020). http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/19-2400.OPINION.7-31-2020_1628842.pdf<... Read more

RCE/National Stage Kerfuffle: PTO Creates a Nightmare Scenario

Attorney: Vincent K. Shier, Ph.D.
August 6, 2020

Much has been written lately about the USPTO's recent enforcement of its controversial interpretation of filing Requests for Continued Examination (RCE) in National Stage applications (i.e., applications under 35 U.S.C. §371) where the oath/declaration was not filed prior to filing the RCE. This post will not address the legal merits of the USPTO's position.... 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

The Federal Circuit Provides a Refresher on Joint Inventorship

Attorney: Daniel J. Pereira, Ph.D.
July 28, 2020

The decision in Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Inc. v. Ono Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd, Tasuku Honjo, E.R. Squibb & Sons, L.L.C., Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (Fed. Cir., July 14, 2020) was an appeal of a determination of joint inventorship from the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.... 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

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

Amgen Wins Right to Market Mvasi™ — Federal Circuit Interprets BPCIA Provision Regarding Notice

Attorney: Lisa M. Mandrusiak
July 7, 2020

In 2013, the U.S. enacted the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (“BPCIA”), 42 U.S.C. § 262 to allow for abbreviated biologics license applications (“aBLA”) to be filed for complex products which are biosimilar to/interchangeable with FDA-licensed biologics.<... Read more