Posts Tagged ‘biotechnology’

Supreme Court Rewrites the Law of Enhanced Damages

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

This is a guest post by Janice M. Mueller of Chisum Patent Academy.

faculty-janice-e1402304436911Today the Supreme Court rewrote the law of enhanced damages for willful patent infringement by issuing a unanimous decision in No. 14-1513, Halo Elecs., Inc. v. Pulse Elecs., Inc., 2016 WL 3221515 (U.S. June 13, 2016), and the companion case, No. 14-1520, Stryker Corp. v. Zimmer, Inc., 2016 WL 3221515 (June 13, 2016). Swept away as “unduly rigid,” “inelastic,” impermissibly encumbering” district courts’ discretion, an “artificial construct,” and simply inconsistent with the text of 35 U.S.C. 284, the Federal Circuit’s elaborate framework for determining whether infringement damages should be enhanced (and reviewing such determinations on appeal), as set forth in In re Seagate Tech. LLC, 479 F.3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (en banc) and Bard Peripheral Vascular, Inc. v. W.L. Gor & Assoc., Inc., 682 F.3d 1003 (Fed. Cir. 2012), is no longer good law.

You can read the entire post here.

Merck’s Solvaldi® Patents Unenforceable for Egregious Misconduct

Monday, June 13th, 2016

gavelIn Gilead Sciences, Inc. v. Merck & Co., Inc., Case No. 13-cv-04057-BLE (N.D. Cal., June 6, 2016), Judge Beth Freeman, sitting in equity, found that the record compelled a finding that Merck and its employee “D” had obtained asserted patents 7,105,499 and 8,481,712 after using inequitable conduct. Earlier, the jury had found the patents valid and awarded Merck $200 million in damages for infringement  of this costly drug, that contains the active ingredient sofosbuvir or solvaldi.

Her 65 page order (a copy along is available at the end of this post) rests on the Fed. Cir.’s Therasense decision, which redefined inequitable conduct (“IC”). While most inequitable conduct charges are based on a failure of the patentee to disclose material prior art to the PTO, the court reaffirmed other bad behavior, not necessarily involving prior art:

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New (and Improved?) PTO Guidelines on Biotech Patent-Eligibility

Friday, May 6th, 2016

new-improved-means-development-to-upgrade-product_f1xCRmPdThe PTO has released a new set of life sciences’ examples to teach Examiners how and when to reject claims and, hopefully, teach the patent bar how to write allowable claims. (A copy if found at the end of this post.)

The Guidelines have examples on vaccines, diagnostics, methods of medical treatment and BRCA-type Myriad claims. There are some surprises. Although Ariosa was decided about a year ago, the Guidelines approve of a claim to detecting a marker indicative of a certain disease by detecting whether the marker is present when a plasma sample is contacted with an anti-JUL-1 antibody and detecting any binding (e.g., an ELISA-type assay). The Guidelines justify this position by noting that the steps do not recite any recognized exceptions to s. 101, citing Mayo. This hypothetical claim could have come from Ariosa, which the Office must have made a hard decision to ignore.

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Justice Breyer to Diagnostic Test Patentees – “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here.”

Friday, April 29th, 2016

danteKevin Noonan recently posted an article entitled “The Fantastical World of Justice Stephen Breyer” that demonstrates, via Breyer’s quotes during various oral arguments, his suspicion that the patent system is, for example, issuing broad, hard to understand, claims that lead to “national monopolies” and encourage trolls to  harass “small businessmen.” Breyer certainly appears to be leading the court in this area – he authored Mayo after all. No matter what Dr. Noonan thinks about his rhetoric, his anti-patent bias is clear, and has been for some time.

Noonan’s article encouraged me to re-read Breyer’s dissent from the Court’s refusal to decide whether or not the diagnostic claim at issue in Laboratory Corp. of Amer. Holdings v. Metabolite Labs., Inc. was patent-eligible under s. 101. (Breyer’s “Metabolite Labs. Dissent.”) (A copy can be found at the end of this post.) This remand occurred in 2006. The Fed. Cir. was still using the “useful, concrete and tangible result” test of State Street Bank, which morphed into the machine or transformation test by the time Bilski was decided. Both “tests” were urged to be applicable to the diagnostic claim at issue, but Breyer found no transformation recited in the claims and no precedent in the u-c-t test.

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