PTAB Reverses Examiners on Unexpected Results

Attorney: Derek Lightner, Ph.D.
June 11, 2024

In Ex parte Freeman (USSN 16/270,259; TC 1600; Appeal 2023-000512, the underlying application being referred to herein as the “Freeman application”), a finding of obviousness and obviousness-type double patenting (ODP) was reversed on May 24, 2024. Freeman’s application was examined by Devang Thakor initially, but the case was taken over by another primary examiner, Nicole Babson, whose position was supported by Supervisor Patent Examiners, David Blanchard and Bethany Barham.<... Read more

PTAB Reaffirms Written Description Threshold When Claiming a Genus

Attorney: Sara Pistilli, PharmD.
May 21, 2024

On May 17, 2024, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) affirmed a rejection of a claim directed to a purification method using single-domain antigen-binding proteins that bind mammalian IgG as lacking adequate written description (Appeal 2023-000567). The claim at issue in U.S. Application No. 16/282,082 (the ‘082 Application) recites:<... Read more

PTAB Reiterates Prior Art Must Describe a Claimed Range with Sufficient Specificity to Support an Anticipation Rejection

Attorney: Sara Pistilli, PharmD.
April 30, 2024

On May 2, 2023, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) overturned a rejection of a claim directed to microparticles containing leuprolide and a biodegradable polymer, and a method for producing the same as anticipated and obvious (Appeal 2024-000508). The claim at issue of the application US 17/832,229 (the ‘229 Application) is directed towards:<... Read more

Federal Circuit Upholds PTAB Finding of Patentability in Medtronic v. Teleflex Life Sciences

Attorney: Jenna Logsdon, Ph.D.
April 1, 2024

In Medtronic, Inc. v. Teleflex Life Sciences Ltd. the Federal Circuit upheld the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decision that U.S. Patent No. 8,142,413 (“the ’413 patent”), owned by Teleflex, was not shown to be unpatentable over the asserted prior art. This post will focus on how the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s claim interpretation to find ’413 patent claims 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7–14 non-obvious.<... Read more

Federal Circuit Upholds PTAB Finding of Obviousness in Pfizer vs. Sanofi

Attorney: Cristina Lai
March 18, 2024

In Pfizer Inc. vs. Sanofi Pasteur Inc., the Federal Circuit upheld the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decision to invalidate portions of Pfizer’s pneumococcal vaccine patent on the grounds of obviousness. My colleague’s post discusses the Federal Circuit’s decision to vacate and remand to the PTAB to further consider Pfizer’s motions to amend with regards to proposed claims 48 and 49, holding that the PTAB has not actually addressed the additional limitations for these claims. This post will focus on the patentability of Claims 1-45, and specifically how the Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB’s application of the result-effective variable doctrine and reasonable expectation of success in order to arrive at a finding of obviousness of Claims 1-45 of U.S. Patent No. 9,492,599 (“the ‘559 patent”).<... Read more

Federal Circuit Remands to PTAB to Further Consider Pfizer's Motion to Amend Claims

Attorney: Long Phan
March 13, 2024

In a recent ruling regarding Pfizer's pneumococcal vaccine patent (U.S. Patent No. 9,492,559), the Federal Circuit upheld most of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) decision to invalidate portions of Pfizer's ‘559 patent as obvious. The PTAB’s invalidation of the ‘559 patent occurred over five IPRs by Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., Sanofi Pasteur Inc. and SK Chemicals Co.<... Read more

PTAB Finds Non-Obviousness for Missing Element

Attorney: Derek Lightner, Ph.D.
February 15, 2024

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) recently reversed the novelty, obviousness, and obviousness-type double patenting (ODP) rejections of the examining corps in a Track One case (USSN 17/342,945; Appeal 2023-004168; TC 1600). Led by Administrative Patent Judge (APJ) Richard Lebovitz, the PTAB panel further including APJs John E. Scheider and Eric B. Grimes reversed the rejections of Examiner Jake M. Vu, whose position was supported by Supervisory Patent Examiner (SPE) Michael G. Hartley, quality control SPE Scarlett Goon, and SPE Frederick F. Krass.<... Read more

Written Description of a Numerical Range

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
February 14, 2024

The Federal Circuit on February 9 decided another written description case involving a range not found in ipsis verbis in the patent specification in RAI Strategic Holdings Inc. v. Philip Morris Products S.A. RAI appealed from a PTAB holding in PGR2020-00071 that claims 10 and 27 of U.S.P. 10,492,542 lacked written description in the specification. Claims 27 is reproduced below; claim 10 is identical except it depends on claim 9:<... Read more

Sisvel – PTAB Guidance On A Proposed Amendment In An IPR Is Not Binding On The PTAB

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
November 20, 2023

In Sisvel Int’l S.A. v. Sierra Wireless, Inc., Appeal nos. 2022-1387 and 2022-1492, (Fed. Cir. 2023) the Court considered this issue of when was a claim broadened in a post grant proceeding. Sisvel’s patent U.S. 7,433,698 (‘698) was involved in two IPRs, IPR 2020-01070 and IPR2020-01071 where it attempted unsuccessfully to amend its claim 10.  Sisvel received preliminary guidance from the PTAB on its original motion to amend claim 10 which then led it to file a revised motion to amend.  Sisvel’s revised motion proposed these amendments:


The amendments to the preamble and the first two limitations result in a more limited claim than original claim 10. However, the PTAB and Federal Circuit held the third limitation “setting the value” to be broader than the original limitation.  The original claim required that the value of at least one parameter be based at least in part on information in the at least one frequency parameter.  The amended claim required the “use of the frequency parameter” which was interpreted as being broader in scope than the “based on” language of the original claim 10.  Using the information was broader in scope than the old language “based at least in part on information in at least one frequency parameter.”  “Using the parameter” was broader than basing it on the parameter.  The Federal Circuit used the example of using a value V and multiplied by X and then dividing by X where the value X was used to calculate V, but the value V is not based on X.  Thus, while proposed claim 36 is narrower overall than claim 10, the last limitation is broader.  It is possible for infringement of claim 36 to exist where none existed for claim 10 since a device only “using the frequency parameter” of claim 36 would not infringe claim 10 but would infringe proposed claim 36.  The amendment process does not permit a patentee to broaden any aspect of a claim even though the overall the claim is narrower, see Hockerson-Halberstadt, 183 F.3d at 1374 see also 37 C.F.R. § 1.175(b) (“A claim is a broadened claim if the claim is broadened in any respect.”)<... Read more

PTAB Overturns Obviousness Finding for Intended Use-Functional Characteristic Error

Attorney: Derek Lightner, Ph.D.
October 10, 2023

On October 3, 2023, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) reversed an examiner’s finding of obviousness based (i) on mischaracterizing a claim feature as an intended use, the feature instead being considered by the PTAB as a characteristic of the composition of the claimed article, and (ii) extrapolating a trend in the cited art without explicit support for the extrapolation. The appeal (No. 2022-003575, USSN 13/375,167, Technology Center 1700) of Ex parte YOSHIMITSU ODA and MASAAKI ISHIO was centered on an independent claim, reciting:<... Read more