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Trouble with Figures: Federal Circuit Sees Nova’s Light

The Supreme Court’s decision altering the standard for claim indefiniteness in Nautilus Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2120 (2014), arrived too late to rescue Nova Chemicals from the jaws of Dow Chemical’s patent infringement suit related to linear low density ethylene copolymers. However, Nova enjoyed a measure of revenge when the Federal Circuit reversed the award to Dow of supplemental damages for Nova’s activities during January 2010 through October 2011. The court decided the case correctly, but its rationale tilts too far in Dow’s favor. The decision reminded me of another odd figure in an earlier Dow polyethylene patent.

The Emergent Microbiome: A Revolution for the Life Sciences – Part III, Psychobiotics

Research into the microbiome focuses heavily on bacteria living in the gut, which houses more bacteria than any other organ. These bacteria are being studied not only because they play a role in gastrointestinal disorders like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Crohn’s Disease, and colorectal cancer, but also because they can influence diverse and distal organs. The gut-brain-axis – the term for the neurochemical pathway between the intestine and the brain – is a prominent example of such a relationship. As the research is starting to progress in this area, we are also beginning to see patents relating to this area.

Recent Trends in Enhanced Oil Recovery Patents (2014), Part 2: Additives – Demulsifiers

Chemical methods of EOR recovery generally include polymer flooding, chemical flooding, liquid carbon dioxide flooding, and hydrocarbon displacement. Additives used in this area employ a variety of mechanisms, e.g., a reduction in the oil-water interfacial tension, alteration of surface wettability, and the use of high viscosity agents for mobility control. The objective is generally to increase the mobility of the oil phase relative to the water used in flooding the well to maximize oil recovery. To improve operability and performance, EOR applications sometimes use a combination of surfactant and polymer, known as “SP” formulations and alkaline, surfactant and polymer systems, known as “ASP” formulations.

Data Protection at the Heart of New Connecticut Law

This summer, Governor Malloy enhanced data protection for Connecticut residents by signing into law AN ACT IMPROVING DATA SECURITY AND AGENCY EFFECTIVENESS, Public Act No. 15-142, which addresses data security on a variety of fronts.

Existing laws generally require that anyone who conducts business in the state and who stores personal information must disclose a security breach without unreasonable delay to affected state residents and to the Attorney General. Failing to do so constitutes an unfair trade practice under CUTPA (the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act). (CGS 36a-701b). Public Act No. 15-142 clarifies that the notice of a breach must be given within 90 days after the breach is discovered, and that identity theft protection and, if applicable, identity theft mitigation services, must be offered to victims.

Innovation: from Discovery to Application – Dilworth IP Attorneys to Present at ACS Fall Meeting in Boston

Dr. Anthony Sabatelli and Dr. Jonathan Schuchardt, both Partners at Dilworth IP, will be presenting at the 250th American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition in Boston this Thursday, August 20th. The theme of this year’s meeting is Innovation: from Discovery to Application and both presentations will be part of the ACS’s Chemistry and the Law (CHAL) Division’s slate of talks.

UPDATE: US Patent Office Subject Matter Guidance – July 2015

Last December, the US Patent and Trademark Office issued the “2014 Interim Guidance on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility” as further guidance to its examining corps for assessing patent eligible subject matter of claims reciting or involving laws of nature, natural phenomena, and natural products under 35 USC §101. The guidelines were issued in light of the high-profile Supreme Court decisions in Alice Corp., Myriad, and Mayo. Dr. Anthony Sabatelli, partner and chair of Dilworth IP’s pharmaceutical and biotech patent practice group provided his comments in person at the USPTO in January of this year.

The Emergent Microbiome: A Revolution for the Life Sciences – Part II, 2015 Patent Trends

Microbiome-related therapies typically involve compositions containing bacteria — often called probiotics — that treat disease or promote health. Some therapies change the composition of the gut microbiome by providing desirable bacterial species, nutrients that promote the growth of desirable microbiome members, or bacterial species that displace bacterial pathogens. Other therapies comprise bacteria or bacterial components that interact with the patient’s own organs, tissues, and systems. Many of these therapies stimulate the immune system, and therapies are being developed to treat various metabolic, inflammatory, and infectious diseases.

The Emergent Microbiome: A Revolution for the Life Sciences – Part I, R&D Leaders

Research into the microbiome seeks to characterize the microorganisms that live in and on different environments. Although these environments can be broadly terrestrial, extraterrestrial aquatic, and biological, we often use the term specifically to describe the bacteria living in and on different sites of the human body. The word “microbiome” refers either to the organisms themselves (also called “microbiota”) or their collective genomes. Within the human gut, the most bacteria-rich organ, these genes outnumber those in the human genome 100: 1, providing attractive candidates for pharmaceutical intervention. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), childhood-onset asthma, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer, and antibiotic-associated diarrhea are some of the diseases that involve changes in the composition or loss of the function of the microbiome.

Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment: Patent Licensors, Beware Getting Caught In Brulotte’s Web

On June 22, 2015 in Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, 576 U.S. ___ (2015), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a rule it established in 1964 in Brulotte v. Thys Co., 379 U.S. 29, which said that a patent holder cannot charge royalties for the use of a patented invention after the patent has expired. As a result of this ruling, Marvel does not owe royalties to Stephen Kimble based on sales of Spider Man “Web Blaster” accessory toys that fell under Kimble’s expired patent. (The Web Blaster lets would-be spidermen shoot foam web strands from their wrists, just like Peter Parker. Shazam!)