Prophetic "Examples" Past, Present and Future

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
July 14, 2021

 On July1 the USPTO issued a notice regarding prophetic examples reminding practitioners of the need to distinguish between examples actually performed and theoretical or paper examples. Generally, this admonishment is considered to apply to the chemical and biologic arts where cookbook-type examples are found presenting data. MPEP 608 and Janet Freilich, Prophetic Patents UC Davis L. Rev. (2019). The MPEP was silent on prophetic examples prior to the 1981 edition.<... Read more

PTAB Restates That Not All Combinations of Molecular Modifications are Obvious

Attorney: Derek Lightner, Ph.D.
April 26, 2021

In a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decision issued on April 16, 2021, in Ex parte Bhalla, Luthra, Reid I, and Levason (Appeal 2021-001535, USSN 14/373,413), the PTAB was presented with the issue of the obviousness of an imaging agent comprising an 18F-labelled compound of a formula below, with the relevant moieties indicated. The main claim covered a moderate genus of compounds[1], and was rejected over a combination of three references.<... Read more

In re Rudy and the PTO 101 Guidance

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
April 22, 2021

The USPTO 101 Guidance document has been under a cloud when Judge Brinkema refused to follow the guidance in Cleveland Clinic Found. V. True Health Diagnostics LLC., affirmed at 760 F. App'x. 1013, 1020 (Fed. Cir. 2019). Cleveland Clinic relied on Guidance example 29, claim 1 to assert that its claims were patent eligible since they were drafted in the same manner. The Federal Circuit in rejecting the argument found the 101 Guidance example 29, claim 1 to be "strikingly" similar to claim 1, see760 F. App'x. at 1020, which the Federal Circuit held was patent ineligible. The guidance teaches that example 29, claim 1 is patent eligible. The USPTO has not responded to the Court's criticism and example 29 continues to appear in the Guidance unchanged.... 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

Indefiniteness: Bad Translation/Lack of Definition Redux

Attorney: Daniel J. Pereira, Ph.D.
April 15, 2021

            I previously wrote about a Federal Circuit Opinion that affirmed a lower court ruling that the term “half-liquid” was indefinite despite the apparent mis-translation of the original Italian term “semiliquido” https://www.lifesciencesipblog.com/indefiniteness-bad-translation-lack-of-definition-or-both. On March 1, 2021, the losing party (IBSA Institut Biochimique, S.A., Altergon, S.A., IBSA Pharma Inc.) filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court and so I thought it would be interesting to take another look at this case. Indeed, the petitioner presented a novel question for review of the lower courts’ decision of indefiniteness of the term at issue. The question presented in the petition is:<... 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

Two-Step Eligibility for Genomic Analysis Systems

Attorney: Daniel J. Pereira, Ph.D.
February 4, 2021

For practitioners at the USPTO, the reversal of a 101 rejection in Ex parte Patil (PTAB January 7, 2021), APJs Grimes, Scneider and Valek, in Appeal 2020-002775 should be interesting if not provide some light on the dance floor for doing the two-step with the USPTO.

The invention focused on assessing genetic variability with a system including databases and processors and as recited in Claim 27 U.S. 15/169,498:<... Read more

USPTO: Proposed Changes to Terminal Disclaimer Practice in Joint Research Agreement Situations

Attorney: Marina I. Miller, Ph.D.
February 1, 2021

The USPTO proposes to modify the rules of practice when certain types of patent applicants and patentees may obtain or enforce a second patent for an invention that is similar (i.e., patentably indistinct) to a first patent. Generally, an application for a second patent covering a similar invention would be rejected. The proposed rule change is limited to the situation where owners of the first and second patents or patent applications are different but have an agreement to conduct research together (i.e., a joint research agreement or JRA). The proposed rule change would increase the ability to file a terminal disclaimer (TD) that ties the rights of a second patent to the first patent. The proposed rule change intends to expand when a TD can be filed in the JRA situation by eliminating the requirement that the second patent or patent application be filed later than the first patent or patent application. The USPTO also proposes to amend the rules to explicitly state existing practices in the rules regarding when certain affidavits and declarations, as well as TDs, may be filed.<... Read more

Small Entity Government Use License Exception: Amendment of the Rules of Practice in Patent Cases

Attorney: Marina I. Miller, Ph.D.
January 4, 2021

The USPTO is amending the rules of practice in patent cases to clarify and expand exceptions to the rule pertaining to government use licenses and their effect on small entity status for purposes of paying reduced patent fees. The USPTO explained that the rule change is designed to support independent inventors, small business concerns, and nonprofit organizations in filing patent applications and to encourage collaboration with the Federal Government by expanding the opportunities to qualify for the small entity patent fees discount for inventions made during the course of federally funded or federally supported research.<... 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