Tag Archives: Subject Matter Patent Eligibility


A method of producing a desired population of multi-cryopreserved hepatocytes was held to be patent-eligible because the challenged claims did not recite a judicial exception. Rapid Litig. v. CellzDirect, Inc.., 2015-1570 (Fed. Cir., July 5th 2016). The decision provides much needed guidance to the life science industry that had yet to receive positive guidance from … Continue reading this entry

Supreme Court Declines Sequenom Review

Last week the United States Supreme Court denied Sequenom’s petition to review the Federal Circuit’s holding in Sequenom Inc. v. Ariosa Diagnostic Inc., 788 F.3d 1371 (2015) that claims directed to detecting fetal DNA in maternal blood were invalid for failing to recite patent eligible subject matter. Therefore by default, the Court let stand the … Continue reading this entry

Will the Supreme Court Clarify Patent-Eligibility?

The United States Supreme Court is set to render its decision on the grant or denial of Sequenom, Inc.’s (“Sequenom’s”) petition for writ of certiorari that posed the issue: Whether a novel method is patent-eligible where: (1) a researcher is the first to discover a natural phenomenon; (2) that unique knowledge motivates him to apply … Continue reading this entry


On May 4, 2016, the USPTO released a “May 2016 Subject Matter Eligibility Update” (“Update”) providing guidance to patent examiners on formulating a subject matter eligibility rejection and evaluating an applicant’s response to that rejection. The USPTO concurrently released new life science examples to assist examiners and applicants evaluate whether claimed discoveries satisfy 35 U.S.C. … Continue reading this entry


In Genetic Techs Ltd v Merial LLC (Fed. Cir., April 8, 2016), the Federal Circuit invalidated yet another diagnostic patent for failing to satisfy 35 U.S.C. § 101 on the ground that the claims recite nothing more than a law of nature. The claim’s recitation of the term “to detect the allele” was insufficient to … Continue reading this entry

Patent Subject Matter Eligibility – Impact on Litigation and Prosecution

Personalized medicine relies on diagnostic technologies to accurately evaluate a patient’s clinical or genetic signature to guide treatment decisions. Protecting innovation by patenting the diagnostic methods and tools that inform clinical intervention and treatment has been the traditional means to protect investment in these important technologies. Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have challenged inventors’ ability … Continue reading this entry

Federal Circuit Invalidates Another Diagnostic Patent

In Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc. v. Sequenom, Inc., Slip Op. 2014-1139, 2014-114 (Fed. Cir. June 12, 2015), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that Sequenom’s U.S. Patent No. 6,258,540 (the ‘540 Patent) was invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101, for failing to claim patent-eligible subject matter. The Court’s decision is yet another application … Continue reading this entry

An Early Test for the USPTO’S Eligibility Analysis

Just last week, the USPTO released its revised subject matter eligibility guidance (2014 Interim Guidance on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility “Interim Guidance” reviewed in my prior post of December 16th, 2014). The Interim Guidance replaced the March 2014 Guidance that was much-criticized for its expansive application of U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence relating to the judicial … Continue reading this entry

USPTO Releases Revised Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance

On December 15th, 2014, the USPTO released its much anticipated revised subject matter eligibility examination guidance to assist patent examiners to evaluate inventions that may be related to any one of the three judicial exceptions to subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 – law of nature, natural phenomena, and/or an abstract idea. 2014 … Continue reading this entry

Canada Joins the Gene Patenting Debate

Canada has joined the gene patenting debate. Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (“Children’s”) sued the University of Utah Research Foundation, Genzyme Genetics, and Yale University (“Defendants”) in Canada’s Federal Court asserting that 5 patents[1] assigned to Defendants (collectively the “Long QT Patents”) for compositions and methods useful in the diagnosis and/or assessment of Long QT syndrome … Continue reading this entry

Federal Circuit’s Post-Alice Eligibility Analysis of Business Methods

The Federal Circuit in Ultramercial, Inc. v. WildTangent, Inc., held that an “entrepreneurial” multi-step process for distributing copyrighted media products over the Internet to consumers is not patent-eligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 even though the specific method of advertising and content distribution was neither previously known nor employed on the Internet. Although the patent … Continue reading this entry

Supreme Court Asked to Review Standing in Stem Cell Challenge

The Public Patent Foundation and Consumer Watchdog (collectively “CW”) petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court on October 31, 2014, seeking reversal of the Federal Circuit’s dismissal of its appeal from a decision of the USPTO that upheld the validity of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation’s (WARF’s) patent regarding in vitro cultured human embryonic stem cells. The case … Continue reading this entry

Myriad’s Continuing Patent Debate

On October 6, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit entertained oral argument in the interlocutory appeal of the district court’s denial of Myriad’s motion for preliminary injunction against Ambry Genetics. In re BRCA1- and BRCA2- Based Hereditary Cancer Test Patent Litigation, Case Nos. 14-1361, -1366. If you missed oral argument, the … Continue reading this entry

Myriad Set for Another Round

On Monday, October 6th, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will entertain oral argument in another case involving Myriad’s BRCA1/BRCA2 diagnostic tests. In re BRCA1- and BRCA2- Based Hereditary Cancer Test Patent Litigation, Case Nos. 14-1361, -1366. In the words of Myriad “[t]his appeal … presents this Court with one of the … Continue reading this entry

Federal Circuit Frames Test for Patent-Eligibility

Personalized medicine relies on diagnostics to analyze a patient for individualized therapy and for monitoring a patient’s health status. Some diagnostic tests use natural products, for example gene sequences, either as the target of the diagnostic test or as a tool to identify a genetic trait or anomaly. Personalized medicine also may rely on the … Continue reading this entry

Will the USPTO Respond to Public Feedback of Its Eligibility Guidance?

Periodically, the USPTO holds open meetings with the public to discuss its thinking on current topics relating to the patent procurement process. Late last week, the Biotechnology, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Customer Partnership of the USPTO announced the first bi-coastal meeting to be held via webcast in Washington, D.C. and San Jose, California on September 17th, 2014. … Continue reading this entry

Managing IP Risk in the Age of Personalized Medicine

As discussed on Foley’s Health Care Law Today blog, personalized medicine treatment trends and innovations are leading diagnostic and therapeutic companies to form complex arrangements and partnerships with the ultimate goal of delivering improved patient treatment. Diagnostics are married to a single or multiple treatments. Devices connect patients with providers. Health care systems may partner with … Continue reading this entry

USPTO Extends Deadline to Comment on Subject Matter Eligibility Analysis

Yesterday at BIO’s session entitled “Patent-Eligibility from the Trenches: Practical Implications of the Supreme Court’s Prometheus (Mayo) and Myriad Decisions” a panel of experts and an engaged audience discussed the controversial USPTO “Guidance for Determining Subject Matter Eligibility of Claims Reciting Or Involving Laws of Nature, Natural Phenomena, & Natural Products” (2014 Guidance) and its implications for … Continue reading this entry

Federal Circuit Dismisses WARF Stem Cell Case – A Missed Opportunity

Recently in Consumer Watchdog v. Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, No. 2013-1377 (Fed. Cir. 2014), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Federal Circuit) dismissed Appellant Consumer Watchdog’s appeal on the ground that as a party, it lacked Article III standing. While the court’s decision raises interesting issues regarding litigation strategy, dismissal of the appeal … Continue reading this entry

Federal Circuit Adds to Section 101 Jurisprudence

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, relying on U.S. Supreme Court patent-eligibility precedent, held that a claim to a live-born clone of a pre-existing, non-embryonic, donor mammal is not patent-eligible. The Court reasoned that because the clone is genetically identical to its donor parent, it is not markedly different from that found in nature and … Continue reading this entry

Patent-Eligibility of Stem Cells Under New USPTO "Myriad-Mayo" Guidance

In March, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) implemented new procedures to address whether inventions that relate in whole or in part to laws of nature and naturally occurring products are patent-eligibility in light of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions, notably Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., 133 S. Ct. 2107 (2013) … Continue reading this entry

USPTO Issues Guidance for Examining Process Patents

On March 4th, 2014, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued “2014 Procedures For Subject Matter Eligibility Analysis Of Claims Reciting Or Involving Laws of Nature/Natural Principles, Natural Phenomena, And/Or Natural Products” Guidance, advising examiners and the public of the factors for determining whether an invention satisfies the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of 35 U.S.C. §101, as … Continue reading this entry

USPTO to Apply Myriad Beyond Isolated DNA

On March 4th, 2014, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”)  issued a Guidance, advising examiners and the public of the factors for determining whether an invention satisfies the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of 35 U.S.C. §101, as applied to patent-eligibility. See Assn. for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., 569 U.S. __, 133 S. … Continue reading this entry

Computer-Aided Selection Method Fails Patent-Eligibility

In SmartGene, Inc. v. Advanced Biological Labs., S.A., No. 2013-1186 (Fed. Cir., Jan. 24, 2014), the Federal Circuit held that a patent claiming the use of a computer to implement routine mental information-comparison and rule-application processes to select a treatment for a patient fails patent-eligibility because the claims are directed to an abstract idea. The … Continue reading this entry