Cindy Chen

Recent Articles by Trace Contamination by Patented Seeds Insufficient to Establish Standing to Challenge Patents

Trace Contamination by Patented Seeds Insufficient to Establish Standing to Challenge Patents

Flying under the AMP v. Myriad radar recently was Federal Circuit’s Organic Seed Growers v. Monsanto. In Organic Seed Growers, the Federal Circuit denied declaratory relief to a band of more than 60 farmers, seed vendors, and agricultural organizations from California to Florida (and even Canada) seeking to invalidate 23 of Monsanto’s patents relating to various technologies for genetically modified seeds. The band of agriculturists grows, uses, or sells conventional seeds that do not incorporate Monsanto’s technologies. Many have organic certifications, and generally eschew transgenic seeds and glyphosate-based herbicides such as Monsanto’s Roundup® herbicide.

Sowing the seeds of wrath: Doctrine of Patent Exhaustion Could Not Save Farmer from Liability for Infringing Monsanto’s Patents on Genetically Modified Seeds

Some had hoped that the Court would use Bowman as an opportunity to address the extent of a patent owner’s monopoly over other self-replicating technologies in the areas of biotechnology and information technology, such as human cell lines or computer programs. Certainly, the Court hinted at the possibility of situations where the patented article’s self-replication is truly outside the purchaser’s control, or where the self-replication is an essential step in using the patented article for another authorized purpose. The Court, however, cautiously declined to extend its holding in Bowman to those situations. The decision in Monsanto is intended to be fact-specific and carry slight ramification. Indeed, the Court’s unanimous decision ended with a significant caveat that the holding is limited, “addressing the situation before [the Court], rather than every one involving a self-replicating product.”

Claim Construction: A Game of Chance at the Federal Circuit

Where the Federal Circuit is reviewing a validity decision from the district courts, the Federal Circuit reviews the claim construction de novo. The Federal Circuit also chooses not the most likely meaning, but the broadest reasonable meaning for disputed claim language. That is, the claim construction most likely to invalidate the claim in question. Now, we ask whether the same fate is likely to befall claims that are being asserted in a patent infringement action. Asked differently, does the Federal Circuit choose the claim construction most likely to lead to a conclusion of no infringement? Saffran v. Johnson & Johnson seems to suggest that the answer is sadly, yes.

CAFC Favors Non-Practicing Entities on “Domestic Injury”

Recently the Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, denied Nokia’s petition for rehearing. The Federal Circuit decision is nevertheless interesting for its treatment of Section 337’s “domestic industry” requirement as it is applied to NPEs. Under 19 U.S.C. §1337(a)(2), relief at the Commission is predicated on the existence or establishment of an industry in the United States “relating to the articles protected by the patent.” This is commonly known as the “domestic industry” requirement. In turn, section 1337(a)(3) provides that an industry is considered to exist if there is in the United States, “with respect to the articles protected by the patent,” significant investment in plant or equipment, significant employment of labor or capital, or “substantial investment in [the patent’s] exploitation, including engineering, research and development, or licensing” (emphasis added).