This bill has been introduced into both houses of Congress in a bipartisan effort to curb the reach of inter partes review (IPR) proceedings and the broad four-factor analysis for injunctive relief set forth by the Supreme Court in eBay v. MercExchange. I originally posted on this bill and referenced other commentators here on May 25, 2019.
Senator Tillis opened the discussion by asserting that the present high standard for obtaining injunctive relief can discourage “patent trolls”, and that IPR can be an efficient way for small businesses to protect themselves from trolls. However he was concerned about the provisions limiting the number of petitions for IPR that a defendant can file, and the need to choose between conventional infringement litigation and the PTAB’s post-grant procedures called for in the bill. The hearing had six witnesses who were pretty much split on whether or not such broad amendments to the AIA were necessary, but almost all of them testified that some reforms were needed.
In Ino Therapeutics LLC v. Praxair Distrib., Inc., Appeal no.2018-1019 (Fed. Cir., August 27, 2019) a divided Fed. Cir. panel comprising Judges Dyk and Prost, Newman dissenting affirmed a district court decision that a number of INO’s patent claims were patent ineligible as attempts to claim a natural phenomenon. Five method-of-treatment patents were involved, including U.S. Pat. Nos. 8,282,966 and 8,795,741.
The relevant claims were directed to reducing the risk that inhalation of nitrous oxide (“iNO”) by neonatal patients identified having hypoxic respiratory failure, who also are identified as having left ventricular dysfunction, do not receive iNO, due to their increased risk of pulmonary edema. Claim 1 of the ‘741 patent reads as follows:
In Nalproprion v Actavis, App. No. 2018-1221 (Fed. Cir., August 15, 2019) a divided panel of Judges Prost, Lourie and Wallach – Prost dissenting – affirmed the district court’s ruling that claim 11 of U.S. Pat. No. 8,916,195 met the written description requirement of 35 U.S.C. 112(a). Claim 11 follows:
Guest post from The Hill, written by Russ Slifer of Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner.
Inventors like Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla obtained patents to protect their many inventions, which in turn grew the U.S. economy. Today their inventions would easily be dismissed by courts as not even eligible for patenting. The lightbulb and alternating current generators would be characterized as either abstract, a law of nature or a building block of technology. Modern critics would minimize the magnitude of their inventions by saying that these great inventors simply had a good idea and told the world to apply it.