Can One Have Too Many Patents?

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
July 6, 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

Final Rules on PTA Calculations in View of Supernus

Attorney: Vincent K. Shier, Ph.D.
June 24, 2020

Although long overdue, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released its Final Rule Patent Term Adjustment Reductions in View of the Federal Circuit Decision in Supernus Pharm., Inc. v. Iancu (85 Fed. Reg. 36335-36342, June 16, 2020). Unfortunately, the Final Rule does not fully address Supernus.<... Read more

Requirements Under COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program

Attorney: Marina I. Miller, Ph.D.
June 8, 2020

The USPTO has launched a new Covid-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program to help small and micro entities. The USPTO will accept requests for prioritized examination of up to 500 qualifying patent applications without requiring payment of certain fees associated with prioritized examination. Under this pilot, the USPTO will advance out of turn certain patent applications related to COVID-19 for examination, resulting in their prioritized examination. The USPTO aims to provide final disposition of patent applications in the pilot in one year or less after it grants prioritized status. <... Read more

USPTO Launches "IP Marketplace" Related to COVID-19

Attorney: Daniel J. Pereira, Ph.D.
May 6, 2020

The USPTO created a web-based platform that identifies patents that may be useful in the creation of technologies to combat the coronavirus/COVID-19 disease (https://developer.uspto.gov/ipmarketplace/search/patents). The website lists various patents and patent publications, seven pages with about 24 per page, that include links to the patents or publications, Issue/Publication dates and other bibliographic information. There is also a column indicating if Licensing is available for the patents/patent applications listed. The patents and applications listed have been apparently asked by the patentee/patent applicant to be included (from the tab “About the Platform):<... Read more

USPTO Decides an "Inventor" as a "Natural Person"

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
April 28, 2020

The USPTO has published an apparently January 2020 Commissioner Decision effectively precluding the filing of patent applications where the invention was made solely by artificial Intelligence (AI). This decision has implications in the pharmaceutical industry where the use of AI to identify new compounds or uses for old compounds is utilizing AI. It also provides some guidance as to how the problem may be avoided.<... Read more

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

Attorney: Lisa M. Mandrusiak
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

Oblon Named Number One Filer for the IAM/ktMINE US Patent Elite

December 23, 2019

Oblon has been recognized as the law firm that has worked with the most members of the US Patent Elite on patent prosecutions at the USPTO. In addition, Oblon representatives are identified to have filed the highest volume of patent applications for the US Patent Elite, according to analysis conducted using Anaqua’s AcclaimIP Analytics Software.<... Read more

The Flip Side of Reasonable Expectation of Success is Unpredictability

Attorney: Daniel J. Pereira, Ph.D.
October 11, 2019

The Federal Circuit in a precedential opinion in Osai Pharmaceuticals, LLC v Apotex et al (Fed. Cir., October 4, 2019) reversed the USPTO's determination of obviousness in an IPR for patent claims directed to the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Just reading the background of the first three or four pages of the decision, it was already apparent that the Court was not going to be affirming the PTAB's decision. Notably:... Read more

USPTO Proposed Revisions to Rules on Patent Term Adjustment

Attorney: Yuki Onoe
October 9, 2019

特許期間調整に関する米国特許庁ルールの変更が提案されました

米国の出願審査が特許庁の遅延により極端に遅れた場合、その遅れの日数分だけプラスアルファで特許期間を長くするよう調整されます。一方で、出願人が期限延長を行うなど、自ら遅れの原因を作ってしまった場合、プラスアルファで長くなった日数分から出願人の遅延分が差し引かれることになります。このような特許期間調整(Patent Term Adjustment, PTA)により特許期間が1日でも長くなるとビジネス上大きなメリットとなり得るため、PTAを自ら減らすことのないよう拒絶応答を進めることが大事です。

先週10月4日付のFederal Registerにおいて米国特許庁は、PTAの計算方法に関する特許庁ルールの変更を提案しました。これは、今年1月のSupernus Pharm., Inc. v. Iancu, 913 F.3d 1351 (Fed. Cir. 2019)の判決内容に沿ってルールを変更することを目的としています。

Supernus事件では、出願人の遅延("a failure of the applicant to engage in reasonable efforts to conclude processing or examination of an application")によりPTAが差し引かれる際の日数の数え方が争点になりました。関係するのは37 CFR 1.704(c)(8)で、現行のルールは下記の通りです。<... Read more

Thinking Outside the (Utility Patent) Box – Don't Overlook Design Patent Protection in the Life Sciences

Attorney: Lisa M. Mandrusiak
August 30, 2019

Design patents are very different from utility patents in that design patents only protect the ornamental features of an invention. In contrast to utility patents, the design is defined in scope by the content of the drawings rather than the words of a set of claims. Further, design patents have a 15 year term, as opposed to 20 years from filing for utility patents.... Read more