Therasense Decision “Tightens The Standards” For Proving Inequitable Conduct

Jeanne Gills, Partner at Foley & Lardner and Practice Center Contributor, sent in this article she wrote with colleague Courtenay C. Brinckerhoff, discussing yesterday’s much anticipated Therasense, Inc. v. Becton, Dickinson & Co. decision.

On May 25, 2011, in a split decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decided Therasense, Inc. et al. v. Becton, Dickinson & Co. et al, Case No. 08-1511 et al., which it heard en banc to address the law of inequitable conduct, and to consider in particular whether the materiality-intent balancing framework should be modified and, if so, how.  The court’s decision “tightens the standards” for proving inequitable conduct, holding that evidence of intent should be considered independently from materiality, and that materiality generally must be proven by a “but-for” test, except in cases of “egregious misconduct, such as the filing of an unmistakably false affidavit.”

The court issued three decisions: (1) the opinion of the court, filed by Chief Judge Rader and joined by Judges Newman, Lourie, Linn, Moore, and Reyna in full, and O’Malley in Part V; (2) an opinion by Judge O’Malley, concurring-in-part and dissenting-in-part; and (3) a dissenting opinion by Judge Bryson, joined by Judges Gajarsa, Dyk, and Prost. (more…)

AMP v. U.S.P.T.O.: Oral Argument at the Federal Circuit

Yesterday, the much anticipated oral argument in the AMP v. USPTO aka the Myriad Case took place at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  Fortunately for us, Ryan B. Chirnomas, Partner at Westerman, Hattori, Daniels & Adrian attended the argument and has passed along this article summarizing the day’s events.

On April 4, 2011, the Appellant, Appellee and the U.S. Government presented oral argument before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in AMP v. USPTO, which deals with gene patenting.  The parties in this case are the Association for Molecular Pathology, along with many other medical organizations, doctors and patients on one side, and the U.S.P.T.O., Myriad Genetics, Inc., and the University of Utah Research Foundation on the other side.  Many amicus briefs have been filed as well.  The argument was heard by a panel consisting of Judges Bryson, Lourie and Moore, and was attended by approximately 200 people.   Due to the complexity of the subject matter and the presence of Government, the Court granted each side approximately 30 minutes of argument, instead of the usual 15 minutes.

Interestingly, although the parties seemed eager to discuss the merits, approximately half of the time for the Appellant and Appellee was spent discussing the issue of jurisdiction and standing.  In particular, Judge Moore seemed very interested in this issue.  The Appellants, led by Myriad, argued that there was no immediate controversy between the parties, since Myriad had not contacted any of the parties in over ten years.  However, Judge Moore questioned whether those parties previously threatened by Myriad were still refraining from making and using the claimed subject matter due to a continuing fear of litigation over the past decade.  (more…)

A New Doctrine of Equivalents? CAFC Defines “Use” Under §271

Gene Quinn, of IPWatchdog and Practice Center Contributor, passed along this article on the recent Federal Circuit decision Centillion Data Systems, LLC v. Qwest Communications International, Inc..  In the article, Quinn discusses the opinion and questions whether it will “breathe new life into the doctrine of equivalents” given the Court’s determination of the meaning of “use” of a system as a matter of law under 35 U.S.C. 271 (a).

On January 20, 2011 the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential opinion in Centillion Data Systems, LLC v. Qwest Communications International, Inc., in which the district court was affirmed in part and reversed in part. Of particular note here is the determination of the meaning of “use” as that term is used in 35 U.S.C. 271(a). The Federal Circuit, per Judge Moore (with Judges Lourie and Linn joining) acknowledged that the Court has never directly addressed the issue of infringement for “use” of a system claim that includes elements in the possession of more than one actor, thereby making the specific issue a question of first impression. (more…)

Federal Circuit: Foreign Application Not Priority in Interference When it Only “Envisions” Invention

Written by Gene Quinn (of IPWatchdog and Practice Center Contributor)

Last week the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a ruling in Goeddel v. Sugano, which might be one of a dying breed should patent reform actually pass.  The case dealt with an appeal from an interference proceeding where the Board awarded priority based on a Japanese application.  The Federal Circuit, per Judge Newman, explained that it was inappropriate to say that the Japanese application demonstrated a constructive reduction to practice because the application merely would allow the skilled reader to “envision” the invention covered in the interference count.  If patent reform passes (and yes that could really happen) cases like Goeddel would become a thing of the past, although priority determinations like this one in Goeddel will certainly not go away.

Goeddel was a consolidated appeal from two decisions of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences of the United States Patent and Trademark Office in two related patent interference priority contests between the party Haruo Sugano, Masami Muramatsu, and Tadatsugu Taniguchi (together “Sugano”) and the party David V. Goeddel and Roberto Crea (together “Goeddel”).  The Board held that Sugano is entitled to the benefit of the filing date of its initial Japanese application, and awarded Sugano priority as to the counts of both interferences. (more…)

Written Description Requirement: Ariad v. Eli Lilly

Burt MagenI recently had the opportunity to listen in on PLI’s one hour briefing titled Ariad v. Eli Lilly and the Separate Written Description Requirement. This briefing was conducted by Vera M. Elson, a partner in the international law firm McDermott Will & Emery and Burt Magen, a partner in the law firm Vierra Magen Marcus & DeNiro LLP.  Ms. Elson focuses her practice on intellectual property trial and counseling for her firm’s technology clients.  Mr. Magen focuses his practice on intellectual property counseling and patent prosecution for his firm’s technology clients.

Elson began by explaining that pre-Ariad § 112, ¶1 focused on two underlying purposes behind a separate written description.  The first was Possession:  “The purpose of the written description requirement is broader than to merely explain how to make and use; the applicant must also convey with reasonable clarity to those skilled in the art that, as of the filing date sought, he or she was in possession of the invention.” Vas-Cath, Inc. v. Mahurkar, 935 F. 2d 1555 (Fed. Cir. 1991).  In other words, what you claimed you actually invented.  The second was Meaningful Disclosure: “A patent specification must convey the detailed identity of an invention, thereby serving a teaching function as a quid pro quo in which the public is given meaningful disclosure in exchange for being excluded from practicing the invention for a limited period of time. Univ. of Rochester v. G.D. Searle & Co., Inc. 358 F. 3d 916, 921 (Fed. Cir. 2004).  That is to say, you actually invented what you say you invented and you taught it to us.  But, everything came to a head with the Ariad case. (more…)