Written Description and Creating Ranges from Examples

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
April 7, 2022

At the close of last year, the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision by the PTAB in IPR2019-00329 that a claimed range created from examples was not patentable because it lacked written description in the application as filed. In its decision the PTAB “second guessed” an examiner’s ex Parte decision that the claimed range had written description in the application as filed.  Written description was at issue because the patent challenged, U.S. Patent 9,687,454 (‘454), filed January 6, 2016, needed benefit of its parent application serial number 12/537,571 published on February 10, 2011, as 2011/0033541 (‘541), to avoid ‘541 from being prior art otherwise, most of the ‘454 claims were anticipated by ‘541. The ‘454 claim 1 is directed to a mucoadhesive film comprising about 40 wt.% to about 60 wt.% of a water-soluble polymeric matrix and claim 7 to a range of from about 48.2 wt.% to about 58.6 wt.%. Neither range was found in the ‘454 patent as filed; the claims were added during prosecution. The ‘454 describes the film as “may contain any desired level of self-supporting film forming polymer”; in “one embodiment, the film forming composition” may be at least 25 weight per cent of the composition; alternatively, at least 50 weight per cent of the composition. No upper limit was described.<... Read more

Plural Unreduced Selections with Unpredictable Effect Not Necessarily Routine Optimization

Attorney: Derek Lightner, Ph.D.
March 8, 2022

The PTAB in Ex parte Sturgis (Appeal 2021-002857; USSN 15/696,282) reversed an examiner’s obviousness rejection of claims for failing to sufficiently establish obviousness via routine optimization The reversal was mainly based upon plural selections being claimed without any particular directions on choosing in the prior art and an unpredicted effect based on the cited art.<... Read more

ModernaTx, Inc. v. Arbutus Biopharma Corp.: Sublicense Not Enough to Show Standing

Attorney: Elissa Sanford
December 13, 2021

On Dec. 1, 2021, the Federal Circuit held that Moderna lacked standing in an appeal from a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) decision against rival Arbutus where the PTAB determined U.S. Patent No. 9,364,435 (“the ’435 patent”) was not unpatentable as obvious.[1] The ’435 patent concerns vaccine delivery technology, particularly a lipid nanoparticle delivery system used to protect nucleic acids delivered to cells as utilized in vaccines including Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.<... Read more

NHK-Fintiv Rule - APA Violation?

Attorney: Grace Kim
April 21, 2021

I recently wrote an article (NHK-Fintiv Rule Challenges Look Futile at Federal Circuit) about a Federal Circuit decision that dismissed Mylan’s appeal of a PTAB decision that denied institution of an IPR. The Federal Circuit concluded that although judicial review is available by petition for mandamus and the Federal Circuit may consider Mylan’s request for mandamus, “there is no reviewability of the Director’s exercise of his discretion to deny institution except for colorable constitutional claims.” Mylan Laboratories Ltd. v. Janssen Pharmaceutica. N.V., No. 2021-1071, slip op. at 12 (Fed. Cir. March 12, 2021) (precedential).<... Read more

NHK-Fintiv Rule Challenges Look Futile at Federal Circuit

Attorney: Grace Kim
April 6, 2021

The NHK-Fintiv rule allows the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to deny institution of an inter partes review petition based on the progress of a parallel U.S. district court proceeding of the same patent. The rule was established under former USPTO director Andrei Iancu in 2018, in NHK Spring v. Intri-Plex., No. IPR2018-00752, Paper 8 (PTAB Sept. 12, 2018) (precedential). As a result of the restrictions opposed by the NHK-Fintiv Rule, many petitioners have been facing increasing challenges in seeking review at the PTAB for patents where there is a parallel district court proceeding.<... 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

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

CAFC Affirms Invalidation of Replacement Heart Valve Patent – Reiterates that Reasonable Expectation of Success is not Absolute Certainty for Success

Attorney: Grace Kim
May 08, 2020

           The Federal Circuit issued a public opinion in Boston Scientific Scimed, Inc., v. Andrei Iancu, No. 2018-2004 (Fed. Cir. May 6, 2020) (sealed opinion was previously issued on April 27, 2020), affirming the PTAB’s final written decision in IPR 2017-00060. The CAFC upheld that challenged claims 1-4 of U.S. Patent No. 8,992,608 to Boston Scientific are invalid as being obvious over prior art.<... Read more

CAFC Issues Another Precedential Decision on Standing

Attorney: Grace Kim
May 07, 2020

The Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision addressing standing requirements in Argentum Pharmaceuticals LLC v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., No. 2018-2273, slip op. (Fed. Cir. April 23, 2020).<... Read more

PTAB Issues Two New Precedential and One Informative Opinions on Section 325(d)

April 17, 2020

The PTAB recently designated two decisions as precedential and one decision as informative with respect to 35 U.S.C. § 325(d). These cases discuss the Board's process for deciding when to use their discretion to deny institution because a Petition raises issues that the Patent Office previously considered in other proceedings (e.g., during prosecution, prior reexams).... Read more