ATHENA DIAGNOSTICS - THE FEDERAL CIRCUIT AGAIN ABDICATES ITS RESPONSIBILITY

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
July 15, 2019

In denying the petition for rehearing en banc the majority of the Federal Circuit abdicated its responsibility to define the limits of the Supreme Court's Mayo decision. Judge Dyk on the 25th birthday of the Federal Circuit noted that: Frequently, the Supreme Court in patent cases articulates a general principle and leaves it to our court to both administer the rule and apply it to the individual case.... Read more

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

Cleveland Clinic - Another Black Eye for the Federal Circuit and Dissing the USPTO

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
April 3, 2019

In the April 1 Cleveland Clinic Foundation v. True Health Diagnostics LLC decision, the Federal Circuit has once again given itself a black eye in finding a new diagnostic procedure to be patent ineligible and with the same punch dissed the USPTO.... Read more

Onyx v. Cipla: Companies Beware - What Your Patent Agent Tells You May Not Be Privileged

Attorney: Jeffrey B. McIntyre
March 4, 2019

In an order last month, the Delaware district court ruled that some communications involving Onyx's patent agent were not privileged and must be produced to Cipla. The court's order highlights potential pitfalls when relying upon advice solely from patent agents.... 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

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

PTAB Confirms It Will Apply Broad Petitioner Estoppel Post-SAS

Attorney: Lisa M. Mandrusiak
November 8, 2018

The IPR estoppel provision was originally intended as a check against patent challengers attacking patents serially in the USPTO or other forums based on grounds that were raised or "reasonably could have been raised" in the original IPR. Although the Federal Circuit has interpreted estoppel narrowly, district courts were split, and estoppel's impact has remained in flux for several years.... Read more

Will Rite-Hite Be Next?

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
October 12, 2018

In Rite-Hite v. Kelley Co., 56 F.3d 1538 (Fed. Cir. 1995) the Federal Circuit refused to award damages for the goods which were regularly sold as part of a package including patented goods.... Read more

Helsinn – The Government Sides with Reality

Attorney: Yuki Onoe
October 1, 2018

On September 24, 2018, the Solicitor General filed a motion to participate in oral argument as amicus curiae in Helsinn Healthcare v. Teva Pharmaceuticals. The U.S. government's interest in this case is obvious, as the decision would have a direct impact on how the USPTO examines and determines patentability of invention.... Read more

JTEKT v. GKN: Federal Circuit Finds Competitor Lacks Standing to Appeal PTAB's Final Written Decision

Attorney: Lisa M. Mandrusiak
September 7, 2018

After determining that its competitor GKN's patent raised a potential risk of infringement for a product under development, JTEKT[1] challenged the patentability of claims 1–7 of U.S. Patent No. 8,215,440 via inter partes review (IPR2016-00046). When claims 2 and 3 were confirmed as patentable in the final written decision—and thus the risk of infringement remained—JTEKT appealed, and GKN moved to dismiss the appeal based on lack of standing.... Read more

WesternGeco – Impacts Lost Profits Beyond 35 U.S.C. 271(f) Infringement

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
August 6, 2018

The Supreme Court found Ion Geophysical Corp. (Ion) responsible for profits WesternGeco LLC. lost as a result of Ion's supplying to foreign buyers the parts necessary to assemble the patented ocean floor surveying equipment. WesternGeco's damages claim included a request for the lost profits of its foreign surveying business caused by Ion's 35 U.S.C. § 271(f) infringement. The Federal Circuit has denied these profits because, in its opinion, it would extend U.S. patent protection to foreign activities. The Supreme Court disagreed not with the concept that U.S. patent laws did not extend to foreign activities but because of the patent damages statute, 35 U.S.C. § 284 which provided:... Read more

Tribal Immunity in IPR is Dealt a Death Blow by The Federal Circuit

Attorney: J. Derek Mason, Ph.D., CLP
July 26, 2018

The Federal Circuit issued its decision in Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe et al v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al (18-1638) on July 20, 2018. The central question addressed in the Federal Circuit's decision was whether the principal of sovereign immunity can be asserted by a patent owner to avoid their patent being subjected to the Inter Partes Review (IPR) process. The decision hinged on whether the IPR process is more akin to the civil litigation-like proceedings in adjudications before the Federal Maritime Commission in which state sovereign immunity was held to apply (Fed. Maritime Comm'n v. S.C. State Ports Auth., 535 U.S. 743, 754–56 (2002) ("FMC") or whether IPR is a traditional agency action in which it has been previously held that sovereign immunity does not typically apply (see, for example, Pauma v. NLRB, 888 F.3d 1066 (9th Cir. 2018); Karuk Tribe Hous. Auth., 260 F.3d at 1074; and Fed. Power Comm'n v. Tuscarora Indian Nation, 362 U.S. 99, 122 (1960)). It is important to note, however that there is no blanket rule that immunity does not apply in federal agency proceedings.... Read more

Federal Circuit Rules in Favor of Patent Eligibility

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
April 16, 2018

On April 13 the Federal Circuit affirmed the lower court decision in Vanda Pharm. Inc. v. West-Ward Pharm. Int'l. Ltd., appeal Nos. 2016-2707 and 2016-2708. The opinion addresses a number of concerns in ANDA litigation including whether jurisdiction exists under 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(2) for a "late listed" Orange Book patent (it does), the availability of an injunction to prevent inducement of infringement by a label (it is available), and the patent eligibility of a claim to using a drug based upon the results of a diagnostic technique. It is this latter point which is of significant importance. Claim 1 of the patent (USP 8,586,610 (‘610)):... 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

A Glimmer of Hope for Diagnostic Patents (or Perhaps Just a Shimmering Mirage)

Attorney: Jacob A. Doughty
March 19, 2018

In the recent, nonprecedential Exergen opinion, a panel of the Federal Circuit considered the subject matter eligibility of a diagnostic method patent claim. The majority found a diagnostic method to be directed to patent-eligible subject matter, notwithstanding the Supreme Court's decision in Mayo and the Federal Circuit's subsequent decision in Ariosa.... 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