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Category: Patent Related Court Rulings

Make Mine Extra-Crispy: Deep Fryers, Motivation-to-Combine, and Secondary Conditions in Obviousness Analysis

In Henny Penny Corp. v. Frymaster LLC[1] the Federal Circuit upheld the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s inter partes review decision that claims 1-3, 5-12, 17-21, and 23 of Frymaster’s patent U.S. 8,497,691 (‘691 Patent) were not unpatentable as obvious.[2]  It is an interesting case because it illustrates a finding of nonobviousness where the Board not only held that there was no motivation to combine, but endorsed a showing of secondary considerations.

Nuvo Pharmaceuticals v. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories: Nonobvious Pharmaceutical Formulation Must Be Demonstrated

In Nuvo Pharmaceuticals v. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (Fed. Cir. 2019), the Federal Circuit held that a patent on a claimed pharmaceutical formulation was invalid for having an inadequate written description, even though the patent disclosed, in sufficient detail, effective formulations.

Lack of Obviousness in Methods for Cancer Treatment

The ‘209 Patent includes method claims where folic acid and a methylmalonic acid lowering agent (e.g., vitamin B12) are administered prior to treatment with the antifolate pemetrexed disodium, a chemotherapy agent.[3]  The folic acid and methylmalonic acid are used to ameliorate the toxic effects of the pemetrexed.[4]  The heart of the Board’s conclusion was that although it was known to use folic acid to reduce the toxicity of antifolates such as pemetrexed, there was no reason to pretreat with vitamin B12 and folic acid prior to treatment with pemetrexed for cancer.[5]  On appeal, the Petitioner’s obviousness arguments related to the EP005 reference, which taught use of folic acid in conjunction with vitamin B12 to reduce homocysteine levels for all purposes.[6]  Homocysteine is an amino acid, and when present in high levels is predictive of pemetrexed toxicity.[7]  On its face this appears to be a solid case for obviousness.  Indeed, those arguing against motivation to combine during patent prosecution have almost certainly encountered an Examiner’s response referencing MPEP 2144IV at one time or the other:

Déjà vu at the Federal Circuit: Personal Web Technologies, LLC, v. Apple, Inc.

There is a scene in the Big Lebowski where the Dude complains about the lousy day he just had as he tosses down some snacks at a bowling alley bar.  In answer, the Stranger (played by Sam Elliot) offers the above advice as to the Dude’s existential situation.  It didn’t help.  One can almost imagine a similar response from Apple following the Federal Circuit’s decision in Personal Web Technologies, LLC, v. Apple, Inc., 2018-1599 (Fed. Cir. March 8, 2019), since it marked the second time in two years they had won at the Board, only to be disappointed at the Federal Circuit on the same patent, PWT’s 7,802,310 (‘310 Patent)[1].  While the Federal Circuit’s analysis in both cases was nominally different, the underlying theme in both was the need for a proper motivation-to-combine analysis.

Lead Compound Analysis in Mylan v. RCT

Lead compound analysis (LCA) has been used in the evaluation of chemical compound Obviousness for the past 20 years.[1]  This approach supplemented the historic formulation of In re Dillon.[2]  While the Dillon analysis pivots about the structural similarity of the cited compound to that claimed and any motivation to make the claimed compound, LCA involves selection of a lead compound that is the most promising candidate for modification to improve its activity.  As such, it represents a somewhat more difficult standard than in Dillon.

Obviousness, Prodrugs and the Rule of 5: Amerigen Pharmaceuticals Limited v. UCB Pharma GmbH

In Amerigen Pharmaceuticals Limited v. UCB Pharma GMBH, 2017-2596 (Fed. Cir. January 11, 2019), the Federal Circuit upheld the Board’s IPR finding that claims 1-5 and 21-24 of UCB’s U.S. Patent 6,868,650 were not obvious.[1]  The patent claims cover Toviaz® (Fesoterodine), an antimuscarinic drug to treat urinary incontinence.[2]  Judge Lourie included a remark […]

Assignor Estoppel & Inter-Partes Review: Arista Networks, Inc. v. Cisco Systems, Inc.

Arista Networks, Inc. (Arista) petitioned for an IPR of Cisco Systems, Inc.’s (“Cisco”) patent, U.S. 7,340,597, relating to protecting computer network systems from outside attack using a logging module.[1] Claims 1 and 29 are as follows: 1.An apparatus comprising: a communications device comprising: a subsystem; and a logging module, coupled to […]