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

Update & Reminder: Patent Term Adjustment Related to IDS Safe Harbor

Attorney: Vincent K. Shier, Ph.D.
July 5, 2019

On November 9, 2018, I wrote about the USPTO's release of interim procedures for patentees to request recalculation of the patent term adjustment with respect to information disclosure statements accompanied by a proper safe harbor statement under 37 CFR. 1.704(d) (https://www.lifesciencesipblog.com/?t=39&format=xml&A=18655&p=15972).... Read more

Four Decisions Designated Informative on 101: Positive Trend for Life Sciences?

Attorney: Lisa M. Mandrusiak
July 2, 2019

In January, 2019, the USPTO issued new guidance about what constitutes an abstract idea that is ineligible for protection under Section 101. Among other things, the guidance emphasized that claims otherwise reciting a judicial exception (i.e., not patentable), would be permitted if they were directed to some type of practical application. See our previous post for more details.... Read more


Category: PTAB 101

"Statutory" Obviousness-Type Double Patenting for Pharma Patents?

Attorney: Daniel J. Pereira, Ph.D.
June 20, 2019

As all patent practitioners know, obviousness-type double patenting is a judicially created doctrine to prevent the unjust extension of patent term of follow on patents that are simply obvious variants of earlier patents. The doctrine is applied during prosecution with the USPTO and can be used to challenge the validity of issued patents in contested matters. 35 USC 121 also speaks to this issue in certain circumstances.<... 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

Motions to Amend: Is the PTAB's Lectrosonics Order Just of Western Digital?

Attorney: Todd W. Baker
March 11, 2019

Spring gardening season has begun and the USPTO is once again planting its Motion to Amend ("MTA") seeds. In a substantial redux of Western Digital Corporation v. Spex Technologies, IPR2018-00082,-00084, paper 13, the PTAB this past week designated paper 15 of Lectrosonics v. Zaxcom, IPR2018-01129, 01130("Lectrosonics Order") as an informative decision.... 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

No More IPRs From Generic Drug Makers?

Attorney: Yuki Onoe
February 24, 2019

The USPTO argues that a petitioner who has received a favorable final written decision in an IPR is estopped from reusing the same winning argument in a district court. If the Federal Circuit in BTG International Ltd. v. Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC, agrees with the PTO, an ANDA sponsor would not take the risk of "winning" at the PTAB and would rather present the best argument in a district court.... Read more

USPTO's Patent Term Adjustment Policies Reigned in Yet Again

Attorney: Vincent K. Shier, Ph.D.
January 28, 2019

Since the Federal Circuit’s decision in Wyeth v. Kappos, 591 F.3d 1364, 93 U.S.P.Q. 2d 1257 (Fed. Cir. 2010), aff’g, Wyeth v. Dudas, 580 F. Supp. 2d 138, 88 U.S.P.Q.2d 1538 (D.D.C. 2008), which held that the USPTO was improperly reducing patent term adjustment (PTA) by improperly calculating “overlapping” days of agency delay under 35 U.S.C. §154, the courts have been asked on numerous occasions to look at how the USPTO is calculating PTA. Not every case has been decided in favor of the challenger, but a fair amount has. In addition, the USPTO has identified several internal errors including not accounting for the IDS safe harbor under 37 C.F.R. §1.704(d). As such, patentees should be very mindful of this evolving and important provision of law.<... Read more

Patents 4 Patients Extended Until June 30, 2020

Attorney: Yuki Onoe
January 2, 2019

The USPTO has recently announced extension of Patents 4 Patients, also called as the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program, until June 30, 2020.  This pilot program was started on June 29, 2016, to provide a fast-track examination for an application related to cancer immunotherapy.  The PTO’s goal is to issue a final decision within a year of the entry of the program. <... Read more

USPTO Releases Interim Procedure for Requesting Recalculation of Patent Term Adjustment Related to the IDS Safe Harbor

Attorney: Vincent K. Shier, Ph.D.
November 9, 2018

On Friday, November 2, 2018, the USPTO released its interim procedure for patentees to request recalculation of the patent term adjustment with respect to information disclosure statements accompanied by a proper safe harbor statement under 37 CFR. 1.704(d) (83 Fed. Reg. 55102 (Nov. 2, 2018); see text at: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-11-02/pdf/2018-24004.pdf).  The interim procedure is effective from the date of the notice until the USPTO can update the patent term adjustment computer program and provide notice to the public that the program is updated.<... 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

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

Ex Parte Jung Puts the Conjunctive in the Phrase "at least one of A and B"

August 3, 2018

Last month, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office's Patent Trial and Appeal Board ("PTAB") newly designated five decisions as informative. These five decisions included ex parte Jung, a Board decision regarding the construction of the phrase "at least one of A and B." According to the Board in Jung, the proper construction for this phrase is the conjunctive, i.e., at least one of A AND at least one of B. This presumptive construction now applies during patent examination absent certain exceptions.... 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

Is Real and Positive Change Coming for Patent Owners?

Attorney: Vincent K. Shier, Ph.D.
June 11, 2018

New USPTO Director Andrei Iancu provided the Intellectual Property Track plenary lecture at the 2018 BIO International Convention last week. As has been a common theme since being sworn in to office in February, Director Iancu's focus was on changes to provide greater certainty and quality for applicants and patent owners. Yes, we have heard this before, but the time is ripe for real change that positively impacts applicants and patent owners.... Read more

Ex Parte Jadran Bandic – Patent Eligibility Analysis After Berkheimer

Attorney: Marina I. Miller, Ph.D.
June 4, 2018

In Ex Parte Bandic, the PTAB ("the Board") has given an insight into how the Office intends to examine patent eligibility under the two-step Alice test, considering the Memorandum published by the USPTO on April 19, 2018 explaining "Changes in Examination Procedure Pertaining to Subject Matter Eligibility" in view of Berkheimer v. HP Inc., 881 F.3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2018).... Read more

USPTO Webinar on Subject Matter Eligibility

Attorney: Daniel J. Pereira, Ph.D.
May 3, 2018

The USPTO announced that Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy Robert Bahr will be presenting a webinar pertaining to Subject Matter Eligibility on May 8, 2018 at noon (Eastern Time). See, https://www.uspto.gov/patent/initiatives/patent-quality-chat. The webinar "will discuss the USPTO's recently-issued memorandum implementing changes to examination procedure in view of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision in Berkheimer v. HP, Inc. This judicial decision provides clarification on the subject matter eligibility analysis." See also: https://www.oblon.com/publications/uspto-issues-memorandum-and-publishes-fed-reg-notice-for-comment-regarding-101-eligibility/... Read more

USPTO Issues Memorandum and Publishes Fed Reg Notice for Comment Regarding 101 Eligibility

Attorney: Daniel J. Pereira, Ph.D.
April 23, 2018

On April 20, 2018, the USPTO published (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-04-20/pdf/2018-08428.pdf) in the Federal Register a "Request for Comments on Determining Whether a Claim Element is Well-Understood, Routine, Conventional for Purposes of Subject Matter eligibility" that references a memorandum to the Examiner Corps the day before pertaining to examination procedure regarding Subject Matter Eligibility (https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/memo-berkheimer-20180419.PDF). The public comment period ends on August 20, 2018.... Read more

MPEP § 706.03(y) – Improper Markush Groups Unpatentable

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
April 2, 2018

As others have observed, the January 2018 MPEP revision instructs the examiners to reject Markush claims. It asserts that "this is a rejection on the merits and may be appealed to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board." Page 700-110. In form ¶ 8.40 it asserts as authority In re Harnisch, 631 F.2d 716, 721-2(CCPA 1980) and Ex Parte Hozumi, 3 USPQ2d 1050, 160 (Bd. Pat. App. & Int. 1984). No statutory authority exists since it has been held the restriction statute, 35 USC § 121 does not provide a basis for a substantive rejection of a claim. In re Weber, 580 F.2d 455 (CCPA 1978) and In re Haas, 580 F.2d 461 (CCPA 1978).... Read more

Is Sovereign Immunity Dead with Respect to PTAB Proceedings?

Attorney: J. Derek Mason, Ph.D., CLP
March 13, 2018

There has been a lot of discussion recently regarding claims by the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe ("Saint Regis") of sovereign immunity as a defense against inter partes review of certain patents owned by Saint Regis. The issue came about as a result of a deal made between Allergan and Saint Regis under which Allergan (the original owner of the six patents involved) paid Saint Regis $13.75 million to take ownerhip of the six patents for Allergan's Restasis drug, and license them back exclusively to Allergan, with the promise of ongoing royalties. When those six patents were challenged in an inter partes review at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), Saint Regis asserted that the patents were shielded from such inter partes review by the theory of tribal sovereign immunity, by extension of a 2017 PTAB ruling that the University of Florida (as a state entity of the state of Florida) was immune to such IPR challenge by Covidien LP. In other decisions, the PTAB has reiterated that state sovereign immunity applies in IPR's.... Read more