Teva v. AstraZeneca – Does an Inventor Need to Understand How a Prior Invention Works in Order to Have that Prior Invention Defeat Another’s Patent?

Written by Gerald M. Murphy, Jr., Partner at Birch Stewart Kolasch & Birch, LLP 

On December 1, in Teva Pharmaceutical Ind. Ltd. v. AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, the Federal Circuit explained when a secret invention can be considered “made” (or conceived and reduced to practice) so that it can be used as prior art against a patent.  Briefly, the CAFC held that an invention can be considered “made” if the inventive entity “did not do so by accident and it knew what it had made.”  It is not necessary for the prior inventor to “know everything about how or why its invention worked.”