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Posts Tagged: "mayo collaborative services"

Mayo v. Prometheus: A lawless decision by an omnipotent Court wreaking havoc on patents

As we approach the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision this is what I know — Mayo is a lawless decision by a Court that has become too powerful. Mayo continues to wreak havoc on the patent system and innovators, and has resulted in patent protection being easier to obtain for cutting edge software, biotech, genetic and medical innovations in Europe, Canada, Australia and even China. Mayo is at the root of all of the problems facing the industry relative to patent eligibility, and if I could repeal only one Supreme Court decision in the patent space it would be Mayo. Indeed, the Supreme Court’s decision in Mayo is probably the worst, most wrongly decided case by the Supreme Court in the patent field ever. I say “probably” only because there are so many contenders to choose from that picking only one is truly difficult. Only the Supreme Court’s decision in eBay v. MercExchange comes at all close to Mayo in terms of damage to the patent system. Only the Supreme Court’s decision in Association of Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics comes close to Mayo in terms of intellectual dishonesty.

A Guide to Limiting the Damage Done by the Supremes in Mayo

Now the Patent Office and the courts have the unenviable task of trying to figure out what the Supreme Court really meant in Mayo v. Prometheus. If Diehr remains good law, which it clearly does, and Mayo v. Prometheus is good law, which it has to be as the last pronouncement, then it becomes clear that the proper statutory analysis is to go step by step through the statute analyzing patentability under the separate and distinct patentability requirements of 101, 102, 103 and 112. That is unless there is something that allows for the short-circuiting of the appropriate analysis as in Mayo v. Prometheus. What is that something?

Prometheus v. Mayo – The Wrong Rat?

A decision with the right outcome but for the wrong reasons can confound jurisprudence nearly as much as a decision that is entirely wrong. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that all that found its way into the Siedman patents was the results of the very research that had been recommended in the 1996 paper and which Prometheus had been prompted to under-write. The more natural objection which, unfortunately, was not pursued was therefore lack of inventive step under 35 USC §103. It is submitted that this should have been enough to dispose of the issue between the parties, arguably even in a motion for summary judgment, but unfortunately it was not how the case was pleaded and argued.

Insiders React to Supreme Court Prometheus Decision

Just over three weeks ago the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, which sent much of the patent world into a whirlwind. In that decision the Supreme Court unanimously found that the claims at issue did not exhibit patent eligible subject matter because the additional steps that were added to the underlying law of nature were well known in the industry. A curious ruling for many reasons, and one that will have to be digested over many years as the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Federal Circuit struggle to figure out how Diamond v. Diehr remains good law (it was not overruled) and remains consistent with a ruling that seems completely inapposite. To continue to provide a variety of perspectives on this landmark ruling what follows is the reactions of those in the industry.

Chakrabarty Controls on Isolated DNA Sequences, not Mayo*

Unfortunately this unspecific remand by the Supreme Court in AMP vacates as well the two-to-one ruling by this same Federal Circuit panel (Judges Lourie and Moore in the majority, Judge Bryson in dissent) that the claimed isolated DNA sequences were also patent-eligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. What, pray tell, does Mayo Collaborative Services change with regard to that ruling in the original AMP decision? For those, like the plaintiffs in AMP (including the ACLU), who would like to upset this “applecart,” they’re likely to be very disappointed. I can describe what should be the impact of the ruling (and reasoning) in Mayo Collaborative Services on the claimed isolated DNA sequences in three short monosyllabic words: NONE AT ALL. And the Federal Circuit can (and should) say likewise, perhaps in far more words.

Is Your Patent Portfolio Safe from the Supreme Court?

The Prometheus decision shows that you can never know for sure what the outcome will be once you arrive at the Supreme Court. We also know that the Supreme Court is taking more patent cases now than ever, and those decisions have significant implications for the entire industry above and beyond the patent claims at issue and the parties involved. Your patent portfolio may be at risk because some other company obtained poorly written claims and the Supreme Court has taken the opportunity to decide not only the issues before them but to make decisions based on overarching concerns about the entire patent system.

The Way Forward from Mayo Collaborative Services is through the Classen Immunotherapies Remand*

The reasoning in Mayo Collaborative Services makes no patent law logical sense on numerous grounds, including disregarding an important paragraph in the Supreme Court’s 1981 case of Diamond v. Diehr that is not only binding precedent, but also tells us that Breyer’s opinion repeatedly does what this paragraph from Diehr says not to do in an analysis of method or process claims under 35 U.S.C. § 101. But the question now becomes what do we do to keep the reasoning in Mayo Collaborative Services from exploding into completely irrational, as well as patent law insane doctrine? The way forward to patent-eligibility rationality, as well as sanity, is through the remand decision in Classen Immunotherapies, Inc. v. Biogen IDEC. Put differently, there may yet be “light” in this currently “dark” patent-eligibility tunnel.

The Prometheus Decision: No Worries, No Problem

Unlike many in the biotech community I do not think the Prometheus decision will break the biotech industry or even seriously affect it. Much like the car mechanic in a small Caribbean island told me when my engine light came on in my rental car, “no worries, no problem!” I believe the holding in Prometheus prevents what could be a future legal quagmire, where overly-broad patents could serve to block entire fields of practice and create an enforcement nightmare in which ghosts of legal uncertainty and licensing ambiguities would haunt hospital hallways, R&D labs, boardrooms, and investment entities throughout the country. If the Prometheus decision would have gone the other way, it would not have been status quo, but rather been fairly harmful to future innovation.

Selective Precedent Amnesia: The Nonsensical Reasoning in the Supreme Court’s Mayo Collaborative Services Decision Part 3*

You could attribute what happened here to “selective precedent amnesia.” But frankly such mishandling of binding Supreme Court precedent in Mayo Collaborative Services is a huge problem. (As one commentator has astutely noted, we now have Supreme Court precedent going off in two diametrically opposed directions on essentially the same patent-eligibility issue.) Any persuasiveness (or balance) in the opinion in Mayo Collaborative Services is greatly undermined by failing to directly (and fairly) address Diehr.

Prometheus – What are We to Make of All This?

From this perspective, (and setting aside considerations of novelty or obviousness) one might conclude that, rather than claiming some methods with reference to anything that looks like a law of nature in a claim, thus raising the specter of §101, it may be better to claim some methods more broadly so as to avoid such issues – maybe obtaining broader claim scope in any event.

A Matter of Patent Law Despotism: The Nonsensical Reasoning in the Supreme Court’s Mayo Collaborative Services Decision Part 2*

Those supporting the reasoning in Breyer’s opinion repeatedly “crow” that Mayo Collaborative Services was a 9-0 decision. But the fact that 9 technologically-challenged Justices reached a unanimous decision based on nonsensical, as well as logically and legally-flawed, reasoning does not impress me, or persuade me. That those 9 Justices simply chose to trounce the Federal Circuit’s decision without leaving any understandable guidance in its place for us mere mortals, chose to deliberately ignore a thoughtful suggestion from the U.S. Solicitor General, and simply determined patent-eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 in a vacuum divorced from any consideration of the relevant context of other patent statutes just makes Breyer’s opinion result-driven and despotic. Such patent law despotism does not earn my respect, only my scorn.

Eviscerating Patent-Eligibility of Drug Testing Methods: The Nonsensical Reasoning in the SCOTUS Prometheus Decision*

Well, Justice Breyer, the writer of the dissenting opinion in Laboratory Corp. v. Metabolite Laboratories, Inc., finally got his wish. Writing the opinion for a unanimous Supreme Court in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., Breyer ruled that a claimed drug dosage calibration method based on previously unknown “precise correlations between metabolite levels [of administered thiopurine drugs] and likely harm or ineffectiveness” was patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 because it “adds nothing to the laws of nature that is not already present when the steps [of the claimed method] are considered separately.” While I’m not surprised that Breyer ruled the claimed method patent-ineligible, his reasoning in Mayo Collaborative Services is, in my view, often nonsensical, and is fraught with unfortunate statements that could potentially eviscerate the patent-eligibility of drug testing methods generally under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

Killing Industry: The Supreme Court Blows Mayo v. Prometheus

The sky is falling! Those who feel the Supreme Court’s decision in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. is terrible are right, although many won’t likely fully apprehend the gravity of the situation at first. Those in the biotech, pharmaceutical and chemical industries have just been taken out behind the woodshed and summarily executed by the Supreme Court this morning. An enormous number of patents will now have no enforceable claims. Hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate value has been erased. But that might be a good thing. Immediate attention now must turn to Congress. Thank goodness that the technical amendments to the America Invents Act are outstanding. This will provide a perfect opportunity for Congress to save an industry that employs many millions of people, while at the same time undoing a pathetic, narrow-minded decision of the Supreme Court.

5th Anniversary: Supreme Lab Corp. Non-Decision Revisited

In truth, the dissent of Justice Breyer is extraordinarily short-sighted. As is the case with many inventions that are foundationally important, many judges seem extremely willing to find such pioneering inventions invalid for one reason or another. Indeed, Justice Breyer even glowingly referred to the Supreme Court’s decision in Gottschalk v. Benson, the Supreme Court case that originally prevented the patenting of software. Today, the ruling in Gottschalk universally believed to be wrong, yet to some it still seems to remain the seminal case showing that pioneering inventions should not be patented.

Supreme Court Accepts Appeal on Patented Medical Diagnostics

Earlier today the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., which sets up another foray into the patent eligible subject matter waters for the Supreme Court in the October 2011 term. This appeal by Mayo will challenge the December 17, 2010 decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, one of the first patentable subject matter cases for the Federal Circuit in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Bilski v. Kappos. In fact, this case was returned from the Supreme Court to the Federal Circuit for further consideration in light of the Supreme Court ruling in Bilski v. Kappos.