In the wake of Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, the Federal Circuit strikes down another patentee’s claims for reciting patent ineligible abstract idea

Bill Schertler | August 18, 2014

Digitech Image Technologies v. Electronics For Imaging, Inc.

July 11, 2014

Panel: Moore, Reyna, Hughes. Opinion by Reyna.


Digitech is the assignee of U.S. Patent No. 6,128,415 (the ‘415 patent) directed to a device profile for a digital image reproduction system and a method of generating a device profile in a digital image reproduction system.  Digitech sued 32 defendants for infringement in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.  Several defendants filed summary judgment motions seeking to invalidate the asserted claims of the ‘415 patent under 35 U.S.C. §101.  The district court granted the defendants’ motions and found all of the asserted claims to be subject matter ineligible.  On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed.

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Somewhat unexpected results yield to strong evidence of obviousness to try

John M. Wang | August 8, 2014

Roche and Genentech v. Apotex Inc; Roche and Genentech v. Dr. Reddy’s laboratories; Roche and Genentech v. Watson etc.; Roche and Genentech v. Orchid chemicals & pharmaceuticals etc; and Genentech v. Mylan etc.

April 11, 2014

Before  Newman, Lourie, and Bryson.  Opinion by Bryson. Dissent by Newman


Plaintiff Roche appeals from the decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey granting the defendant generic drug companies summary judgment of invalidity of Roche’s two patents related to Boniva®, a commercial drug for the treatment of osteoporosis. CAFC affirms.

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Prima facie case of obviousness is not established solely because end point of claimed range is close to disclosed range

Yoshiya Nakamura | July 31, 2014

In re Rajen M. Patel

July 16, 2014

Panel:  O’Malley and Hughes.  Opinion by O’Malley.


PTAB affirmed Examiner’s rejections of Applicants’ claims reciting a range limitation of weight percent of a polymer component, as being obvious over a cited reference because it discloses a range whose upper limit is very close to the claimed lower limit.  Applicants appealed from the PTO decision and argued before CAFC that the PTAB erred in finding a prima facie case of obviousness where the amounts do not overlap.  CAFC agreed with the Applicants and distinguished this case from its previous cases where range overlapping at least to some degree was required to find obviousness.

出願クレームは、ポリマーの量(26 wt%以上)を記載し、先行技術はポリマーの量(25 wt%以下)を開示していた。その差は僅か1%ほどである。米国特許庁審査官はこの場合、数値は重複していないが、非常に近接しているので、それだけで自明性の存在が一応証明され(prima facie case of obviousness)、したがって、出願人が非自明性(たとえば予期せぬ効果)を証明しなければ特許されないと判断した。同特許庁審判部はこの結論を維持した。この決定を不服として出願人はCAFCに上訴し、クレームの数値範囲に「近い」という理由だけで即座に自明であるとした特許庁の判断は間違いであると主張した。CAFCは出願人の意見に同意し、特許庁の判断を覆した。本件は、先行技術の数値がクレームの数値と重複しておらず、クレームの数値へ増量するという教示が先行技術にはないことに着目し、単に数値が「近い」というだけで自明であるとしてはいけないとの判断である。特許庁のガイドラインは、数値範囲が重複していなくても、同様の特性が予期できる程度に「近い」といえる場合は一応の自明性があると説明しているが、本件はこの基準の適用範囲を制限した判決であると考えられる。

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Post-filing recognition of a drug compound’s unexpected property may not be sufficient to establish the compound’s nonobviousness.

Cindy Chen | July 24, 2014

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.

June 12, 2014


The Federal Circuit found that a patent claim directed to a drug compound for treating hepatitis B was invalid as an obvious modification to a structurally similar lead compound. In so finding, the Federal Circuit dismissed evidence of later discovery, after the time of invention, that the lead compound was highly toxic and therapeutically useless. The Federal Circuit then determined that evidence of the drug compound’s later-discovered unexpected lack of toxicity was insufficient to prove nonobviousness, despite additional evidence demonstrating the drug compound’s unexpectedly high potency and unexpectedly high barrier to resistance. The Federal Circuit’s decision may have taken some bite out of the court’s precedents that an invention’s properties and advantagesneed not be fully known as of the filing date of the patent application to be relevant to nonobviousness.

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