We previously published a post on the Federal Circuit’s decision in Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., and Helsinn’s subsequent petition for certiorari.

On January 22, 2019, the Supreme Court affirmed the Federal Circuit in a unanimous decision, holding that a commercial sale to a party who is required to keep the invention confidential can still constitute prior art
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As we have reported in several recent posts, the PTAB often rigorously evaluates public accessibility when considering non-patent prior art.  Disputes over accessibility are often pivotal because insufficient evidence of accessibility can disqualify a reference as a “printed publication” under § 102.  The Federal Circuit recently expanded on the applicable standard for online publications in a case rooted in computer technology, but the decision provides relevant insights for life science practitioners as well.
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The Federal Circuit recently held that a product catalog distributed at a trade show was “publicly accessible,” and therefore qualified as prior art. In Nobel Biocare Services AG, v. Instradent USA, Inc., decided on September 13, 2018, the Federal Circuit affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (“PTAB”) finding that a catalog distributed at the International Dental Show (“IDS”) Conference in Cologne, Germany was publicly accessible. The court’s decision in Nobel hinged largely on the testimony of two declarants, one who went to the conference (Zvi Chakir), and another who Chakir gave the catalog to upon his return (Yechiam Hantman).
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We wrote previously regarding Incyte Corp. v. Concert Pharms., Inc., IPR2017-01256, in which the Board reached different conclusions regarding the availability of two pieces of prior art, over a dissent by Judge Fitzpatrick.  Regarding art referred to as the Concert Backgrounder, the Board’s earlier ruling found public accessibility where the Backgrounder was 1) identified on a cached WebCite page, 2) cited in an International Search Report for a patent application, and 3) used in a law review article that cited the WebCite page.  In a new decision in the same case, the Board ruled on Petitioner’s motion for additional discovery regarding public availability of the Concert Backgrounder, granting the discovery in part.  Interestingly, the Board declined to allow discovery that it viewed as changing the Petitioner’s theory of public availability of the art.
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On July 27, 2018, in GoPro, Inc., v. Contour IP Holdings LLC, the Federal Circuit overturned the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) in its most recent decision on what constitutes publicly available prior art. In GoPro the Court held that a catalog distributed at a trade show open only to dealers was publicly available prior art.

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On July 13, 2018, in Jazz Pharms., Inc. v. Amneal Pharms., LLC, (Case Nos. 2017-1617, -1673, -1674, -1675, -1676, -1677, -2075), the Federal Circuit affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (“PTAB”) holding that certain FDA advisory meeting minutes, transcripts, and slides were publicly available such that the materials constituted prior art.  We have previously discussed the PTAB’s public availability jurisprudence in Coalition for Affordable Drugs VIII, LLC v. The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, IPR2015-01835 where the PTAB held a presentation given to investors was not prior art. 
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Drug product labels (also known as prescribing information) are often asserted as prior art by patent challengers, both in front of the PTAB and in district court ANDA litigation.  Before the PTAB, using such prior art requires showing that it qualifies as a “printed publication” under 35 U.S.C. §§ 102 and 311(b).  Recently, the PTAB appears to be applying greater scrutiny to the use of such prior art when cited in invalidity grounds.  The Board’s analysis in such situations “involves a case-by-case inquiry into the facts and circumstances surrounding the reference’s disclosure to members of the public.”  Sandoz Inc. v. AbbVie Biotechnology Ltd., IPR2018-00156, Paper 11 at *9 (June 5, 2018) (citing In re Klopfenstein, 380 F.3d 1345, 1350 (Fed. Cir. 2004)).  A pair of recent rulings identify some of the evidentiary issues catching the eyes of PTAB panels as they consider invalidity arguments that rely on product-label prior art.

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