In the chemical and biological arts, it is common for patent challengers to allege obviousness based upon prior art disclosures of ranges combined with “routine optimization” by one skilled in the art.  In E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. v. Synvina C.V., No. 17-1977 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 17, 2018), the Federal Circuit reversed the PTAB’s (“Board”) final written decision upholding Synvina’s U.S. Patent No. 8,865,921 (“’921 patent”) as non-obvious, in response to du Pont’s inter partes review (“IPR”) challenge on such grounds.  In particular, in E.I. du Pont, the Court found that the patentee failed to demonstrate that 1) the claimed range produced a new and unexpected result, different in kind and not merely in degree from the prior art, 2) the optimized parameter was not recognized as a result-effective variable, 3) the disclosure of broad ranges did not invite more than routine optimization, or 4) that the prior art taught away from the range.

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On August 27, 2018, the Federal Circuit in Ericsson Inc. v. Intellectual Ventures I LLC, vacated the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (“PTAB”) final written decision in an inter partes review (IPR) and remanded for the PTAB to properly consider all portions of the petitioner’s reply.  No. 17-1521, slip op. at 13 (Aug. 27, 2018).
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The “on-sale bar” deems that certain sales of an invention that occur more than one year before a patent application is filed are a bar to patentability.  See 35 U.S.C. § 102(b) (pre-America Invents Act (“AIA”)); 35 U.S.C. § 102(a)(1) (AIA).  On Monday, June 25, 2018, the Supreme Court granted Helsinn’s petition for certiorari in Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., to interpret the on-sale bar provision of 35 U.S.C. § 102 in the AIA.  Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharm. USA, Inc., — S. Ct. —, 2018 WL 1142984 (2018) [SCOTUSblog case file].  The question presented to the Supreme Court is: “Whether, under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, an inventor’s sale of an invention to a third party that is obligated to keep the invention confidential qualifies as prior art for purposes of determining the patentability of the invention.”  Petition for Certiorari, Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharm. USA, Inc., No. 17-1229, 2018 WL 1168243 (Feb. 28, 2018).

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On April 13, 2018, the Federal Circuit issued a new decision in its recent line of cases analyzing whether generic drug labels may be evidence of induced infringement of method of treatment claims in Hatch-Waxman cases. In Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. West-Ward Pharmaceuticals International Ltd., the Court, in upholding the District Court’s finding of induced infringement, held that proposed instructions to physicians can satisfy the specific-intent element of induced infringement. 887 F.3d 1117 (Fed. Cir. 2018) (Judges Lourie and Hughes, Chief Judge Prost dissenting on other issues). This decision follows and builds upon the Federal Circuit’s 2017 decisions in Eli Lilly and Co. v. Teva Parenteral Medicines, Inc., 845 F.3d 1357 (Fed. Cir. 2017) and Sanofi v. Watson Laboratories Inc., 875 F.3d 636 (Fed. Cir. 2017).

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