Posts Tagged: "patentability requirements"

Patent Procurement and Strategy for Business Success Part III: Prosecution – Wielding an Invisible Hand

In the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s ) patent academy (or today’s version of such), patent examiners are taught that the objective of the patent examiner is to “issue valid patents promptly.” In pursuing this institutional interest, each examiner conducts examinations that they independently manage. Although patent prosecutors cannot control an examiner’s decisions, they can establish a context that encourages a favorable outcome. If first and second application drafters each drafted applications to cover the same invention (that met all of the requirements of 35 USC 112) the presentation of the content in the respective applications could engender drastically different examination processes. This is because there is a relationship between the manner in which the content of a patent application is presented and the character of the examination process that follows.

Yu v. Apple Settles It: The CAFC is Suffering from a Prolonged Version of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland syndrome is a medical condition for which there is no known treatment. It causes a disturbance of perception and has a serious impact on the life of those afflicted, and I suspect on those who surround those afflicted. Of course, those in the patent community who work on software implemented innovations know all of this too well. Think this is a joke? Sadly, no. Alice in Wonderland syndrome is a real thing.

Written Description in the Life Sciences: The Devil is in the Details

There is a quid pro quo under the U.S. patent laws. In exchange for disclosing her invention, an inventor receives a limited monopoly. Recent developments, however, have made it harder for those in the biotechnology industry to obtain the benefit of this bargain. The written description requirement mandates that a patent specification convey to one of skill in the art that the inventors had possession of their invention as of the day they filed their patent application. Ariad Pharms., Inc. v. Eli Lilly & Co., 598 F.3d 1336, 1351 (Fed. Cir. 2010). Over the last decade, three areas have proven troublesome in the life sciences.

CAFC Finds Certain Baxter Telepharmacy Claims Obvious, Reversing PTAB

On May 28, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) reversed a decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Board), holding certain claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,554,579 (the ‘579 patent) are invalid as obvious under 35 U.S.C. §103. Baxter Corporation Englewood (Baxter) is the owner of the ‘579 patent, which discloses “[s]ystems for preparing patient-specific doses and a method for telepharmacy in which data captured while following [a protocol associated with each received drug order and specifying a set of steps to fill the drug order] are provided to a remote site for review and approval by a pharmacist.”

Biden is Missing an Opportunity at the USPTO

Intellectual property (IP) made modern vaccines possible. It took billions of dollars in private and public investments in research and development to be able to create, in record time, multiple viable vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The entire world should be celebrating the innovators that continue to push forward with new solutions to problems we will face in the future. This pandemic will end, but there will be another. We should be eternally grateful to have companies like Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson that have the capability to create and manufacture vaccines at large scale…. It has been over four months since President Biden’s inauguration. As of yet there has not been a nomination for the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In addition to running the USPTO, the Director is responsible for advising the President on intellectual property issues. I believe that President Biden would have benefitted from an experienced voice knowledgeable about the dangers of supporting the erosion of property rights during the discussions on whether to support India and South Africa’s proposal to the World Trade Organization to waive IP protections under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

Fit to Drive: Three Inspiring Office Action Responses from the USPTO’s Art Unit 3668

Every patent practitioner has faced the same obstacle — a client’s application is assigned to an unfamiliar art unit. This presents two challenges: unfamiliarity with the examiners and unfamiliarity with the application of the law. Here are three proven arguments that overcame Section 101 rejections in AU 3668 from which to draw inspiration.

Substitute/Cultivated Meat Technology: A Deep-Dive Patent Landscape Analysis

Meat substitute technologies and the growing industry based on those technologies have seen significant growth in recent years, from the number of startup companies to the amount of investment money to the industry. This article analyzes the patent protection being sought and obtained by the various companies active in this young industry, taking a “deep dive” into the company patent portfolios with a detailed look into the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) files of the identified patent applications to understand some of the patent prosecution strategies, successes and problems encountered as the companies seek to protect their technology and investments.

High Court is Poised to Un-Muddy the Section 101 Waters Nearly Seven Years After Alice

Could the United States Supreme Court once again weigh in on Section 101 subject-matter eligibility? With the Court having asked for the views of the Solicitor General yesterday, it seems increasingly likely. Late in 2020, patentee American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc. (American Axle) petitioned the Supreme Court for writ of certiorari, arguing that the Federal Circuit is “at a loss as to how to uniformly apply § 101.” Pet. for Writ of Certiorari at 3 (Dec. 28, 2020). Organizations such as the New York Intellectual Property Law Association, the New York City Bar Association, and the Chicago Patent Attorneys organization have all submitted amicus briefs supporting American Axle’s ask. On March 1, former USPTO Director David Kappos, former Federal Circuit Chief Judge Paul Michel, and Senator Thom Tillis from North Carolina also jointly filed an amicus brief, arguing that the “disparate and inconsistent application” of the current Section 101 jurisprudence has led to “an unpredictable and unstable” patent system. Br. in Support of Am. Axle’s Pet. for Writ of Certiorari at 5 (Mar. 12, 2021).

CAFC Clarifies Section 103 Prior Art Enablement Requirement, Reverses PTAB Obviousness Finding

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) reversed an inter partes review (IPR) decision from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in Raytheon Technologies Corporation (Raytheon) v. General Electric Company (GE). The PTAB found claims 3 and 16 of U.S. Patent No. (the ‘751 patent) unpatentable under Section103 as obvious in view of a 1987 NASA technical memorandum (the “Knip” reference). Raytheon submitted evidence that the Knip reference relied on the use of nonexistent composite materials, and thus failed to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the claimed invention. The PTAB sided with GE, even though GE made no attempt to rebut the evidence presented by Raytheon. The CAFC disagreed.

In re Stanford: Ruined by a Processor and a Memory

Computer boilerplate – such as including “a processor and a memory” in claims – is commonplace in patent applications. However, the recent case of In re Stanford shows that this can be a double-edged sword, having the potential to both undermine an application and to ruin an opinion that could otherwise have shed light on several of the thorniest open questions in patent eligibility jurisprudence. Skeptical that such a common practice could be so counterproductive? Read on.

International IP Index 2021: United States Remains Second in Patent Rankings, Global IP Framework Holds Strong Amid Pandemic

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) released its ninth annual International IP Index yesterday, finding that the United States, Japan and Europe remained at the top of the global intellectual property rankings, while emerging markets like the United Arab Emirates, China and Mexico continued to improve their scores. Despite the pandemic, the overall global IP environment improved, and the report underscored the critical role that strong IP economies played in combating COVID-19. The report, titled “Recovery Through Ingenuity,” covers the IP framework in 53 global economies across 50 unique indicators. 32 of these 53 economies had positive improvements in their scores over the 2020 report.

Tillis and Cotton Urge Hirshfeld to Adopt Pilot Program to Address ‘Inherently Vague and Subjective’ Eligibility Analyses

Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) sent a letter on Monday to the acting Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Drew Hirshfeld, asking him to “initiate a pilot program directing examiners to apply a sequenced approach to patent examination,” rather than the traditional “compact approach.” This proposed pilot program would require a select group of examiners and applicants who elected to participate in the program “to engage in a full examination of the grounds of patentability and then, once that process is complete, a full examination of the grounds of eligibility.”

Patenting Simulations at the EPO: Decision G1/19 and Its Consequences for Computer-Implemented Inventions

The Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) recently published its decision No. G1/19 on patentability of simulations. There was great anticipation for such a decision, after landmark decisions 641/00 (COMVIK) and G3/08, mainly due to the ambiguous formulations of the questions of law to the Enlarged Board of Appeal. The result is “business as usual”, but several clarifications might be useful in the future. In the following, we first summarize the questions of law, the clarifications of the Enlarged Board of Appeal and then infer possible consequences for applicants and practitioners.

CAFC Affirms PTAB Rejection of Stanford Haplotype Phasing Patent Claims Under Alice

On March 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to hold the rejected claims from Leland Stanford Junior University (Stanford) were not patent eligible because the claims are drawn to abstract mathematical calculations and statistical modeling. The examiner rejected claims 1, 4 to 11, 14 to 25, and 27 to 30 of U.S. Application Nos. 13/445,925 (‘925 application), “methods and computing systems for determining haplotype phase,” for involving patent ineligible subject matter. The CAFC applied the two-step framework under Alice v. CLS Bank to determine whether the claims were patent eligible.  

What to Know About the European Patent Office 2021 Guidelines for Examination: Part II – Biotech

As discussed in Part I of this article, the European Patent Office (EPO) recently published its Guidelines for Examination 2021, which came into force on March 1. In the previous article, we detailed changes affecting computer-implemented inventions and with respect to procedural matters. Here, we will address the Guidelines’ changes for biotech. In addition to some specifications regarding the interpretation of terms relating to amino and nucleic acid sequences and the definition of the concept of “therapy” and of the products that can be claimed in view of their new medical use, the main additions that have been made to the part of the Guidelines relating to biotechnological inventions concern the exclusions from patentability, and in particular the ineligibility of inventions relating to plants or animals and human embryos. A full section has also been added relating to the patentability of antibodies.