Posts Tagged: "public use"

Federal Circuit Affirms Eastern District of Texas Holding that Medtronic Induced Infringement of Doctor’s Patents

On January 24, the Federal Circuit affirmed a jury’s finding that the defendant-appellant, Medtronic, induced surgeons to infringe two patents of plaintiff-appellee, Dr. Mark Barry, which were directed to methods of correcting spinal column anomalies, such as those due to scoliosis, by applying force to multiple vertebrae at the same time. Medtronic appealed on several grounds, “principally concerning the public-use and on-sale statutory bars, but also concerning prior invention, inequitable conduct, and induced infringement.” The majority of the panel rejected the appellant’s arguments, while Chief Judge Prost dissented and would have found that one of the patents was invalid due to either the public use or on sale bars of Section 102(b). Barry v. Medtronic, Inc., No. 2017-2463, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 2305 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 24, 2019) (Before Prost, Chief Judge, Moore and Taranto, Circuit Judges) (Opinion by Taranto) (Dissent by Prost).

Which Invalidity Avenue to Take: Inter Partes Review Verses Post-Grant Review

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) provides invalidity tools via inter partes review (IPR) and post-grant review (PGR), but which route is better? …  PGRs are estimated to cost more because of their broader discovery rules.  If cost is a major factor, IPRs are a less-expensive option due to restricted allowance of discovery, the most expensive aspect of patent litigation… If the invalidating arguments or art are not strong, an IPR may be a better option due to its lower threshold for institution.  The same prior art arguments that failed in a petition for a PGR may have succeeded in an IPR petition due to the lower standard.

Avoiding drug development clinical trials from being an invalidating public use

The legal principles set out above, while seemingly straight-forward enough, leave ample room for case-specific interpretation and application when it comes to the question of whether the use of a claimed invention in connection with carrying out clinical trials will constitute an invalidating public use. Patent applications are typically filed early on in the process of developing and commercializing a pharmaceutical drug product. One reason for this approach is to secure the earliest possible filing date thereby pre-dating as much would-be prior art as possible. Such would-be prior art, however, is not limited to that published or otherwise emanating from others but also includes time bars such as the public use bar. The circumstances under which clinical trials involving administration of a drug product that occur prior to the critical date may constitute an invalidating public use is a murky area of the law and courts’ decisions in this area are highly dependent on the facts of the case before them.

The Top 5 Mistakes Inventors make with their Invention

Generally speaking the first step toward commercializing an invention and making money is typically to pursue the patent path. For those new to the industry it is important to understand that on the road to a patent there are many mistakes that inventors can make unwittingly, some of which will ultimately make it impossible to obtain a patent. With that in mind, here is a list of the top 5 mistakes inventors make, followed by discussion of what you should do to move your project forward in an appropriate and responsible way.

Traps for the Unwary Regarding Patent Claim Drafting and Definition of Prior Art Under Leahy Smith

For example, the new provision retains the existing notion of “public use” and “on sale” under current law; however, a key difference is that the one year grace period of current law will not be available under new 102 (Another key difference is that activities outside the United States may create a so-called public use or on sale bar under new 102). The new grace period under the America Invents Act is personal to the inventor and relates to “disclosure,” which many believe could be interpreted not to cover “public use” or “sale” as those terms are presently understood. Therefore, there is a possibility that your client’s invention may already be unpatentable in the United States by the time he or she contacts you (such as if a “public use” or “offer for sale” even took place the day before he or she consults you).

The America Invents Act’s Repeal of Secret Commercial Use Bar is Constitutionally Infirm

The effort to shoehorn foreign patent priority concepts and torture a well-developed 200 year-old American patent system that has a proven record as the best in the world into foreign structures that are inconsistent with the American Constitution and its laws is a futile effort that would likely be met with successful challenge on constitutional grounds. The illusory “harmonization” goal with no demonstrated tangible benefits compared to the existing system does not justify embarking on a risky legal adventure that will destabilize the American patent system and will doom it to decades of economically taxing legal uncertainty.