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  • Noonan Ph.D., Kevin E.
Summer 2014 (snippets)
The CLS Bank case is the most recent of the Court’s patent eligibility decisions, and the Court unanimously affirmed the Federal Circuit's per curiam opinion (itself an effort to apply the Court’s patent eligibility jurisprudence regarding computer-based methods) that all of Alice’s claims were too abstract to meet the requirements of § 101. The claims at issue included method claims (directed, according to the Court, to methods for implementing an intermediated settlement that are well-known in the art), system claims involving implementation of the method using a general purpose computer, and computer readable-media claims for directing a general purpose computer to implement the method. None of the distinctions thought heretofore to matter between claims to methods, systems, and computer-readable media made any difference to the Court.
June 18, 2013 (snippets Alert)
The Supreme Court ruled 5-3 on June 17, 2013 in favor of the Federal Trade Commission in FTC v. Actavis. Writing for the majority that included Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan, Justice Breyer’s opinion reversed the decision of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals dismissing the FTC’s complaint that a “reverse payment” settlement agreement between an innovator drug maker and generic challengers in ANDA litigation was anticompetitive and violated the antitrust laws. The Court refused to accept the FTC’s position that such agreements are presumptively unlawful, holding that lower courts should apply an antitrust “rule of reason” analysis when evaluating such agreements.
June 17, 2013 (snippets Alert)
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously June 13, 2013 in favor of Plaintiffs/Petitioners in Association of Molecular Pathologists v. Myriad Genetics on the question of whether isolated DNA is patent eligible. The opinion found a distinction between isolated genomic DNA and fragments thereof (including oligonucleotides), which the Court found were not eligible for patenting under Section 101 of the patent statute, and “synthetic” cDNA, which the Court found did not occur in nature and evinced a sufficient degree of the “hand of man” to fall outside the scope of the Court’s exclusions to patent eligibility.
May 14, 2013 (snippets Alert)
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously May 13, 2013 in favor of Monsanto in Bowman v. Monsanto, a case involving Monsanto’s recombinant, Roundup Ready® seeds. The opinion rejected the arguments from petitioner, Indiana farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman, that Monsanto’s rights in its seed had been “exhausted” by their first sale (here, to a grain elevator) and that the Court should reject any “special exception” to the first-sale doctrine of patent exhaustion for “self-replicating technologies.”
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