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November 2017 Archives

Patent Claim Invalidated, SteadyMed Drug Treatment Moves Forward

An appeals court breathed more life into Trevyent, a treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension.

In United Therapeutics Corp. v. SteadyMed Ltd., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit knocked out a competing patent claim. In a one-word decision, the court "affirmed" a ruling in favor of SteadyMed, a Northern California pharmaceutical company.

It was one step forward for the drug treatment on a path marked by legal steps forward and back again.

The Circuit Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit explained in the recent In Re: Micron Technology opinion that the huge SCOTUS TC Heartland decision effectively changed the law on venue in patent cases. That change is causing ripple effects for cases in active litigation, and the ripples might take some time to work their way out of the system.

Essentially, SCOTUS ruled in TC Heartland to limit patent infringement venue to the location of the infringement or the infringer's principal place of business. Because of that ruling, scores of patent cases became eligible for dismissal on grounds of improper venue. But there's a catch, and the Federal Circuit has made it a little easier for those on the receiving end of an infringement case.

Attorneys' Fees Denied for Last-Minute Filing

When it comes to attorneys' fees, some good deeds go unpaid.

Counsel for Henry Simmons, who suffered from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, learned that lesson the hard way. After the attorney filed a last-minute claim under a federal statute, the client disappeared and the case was dismissed.

The lawyer filed a petition for attorneys' fees, which were allowed under the law. But a federal appeals court said the claim was not reasonable -- even though the attorney had to file the case if only to preserve the statute of limitations.

In a recent case out of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeal applying the Alice v. CLS standard, the appellant unsuccessfully sought to overturn a district court's dismissal. The case, Two-Way Media LTD. v. Comcast Cable Communications, was dismissed as the district court found the patent claims ineligible for protection under section 101.

In short, the court relied on the rational in Alice to determine that Two-Way Media's patent claims were directed at abstract ideas and did not contain the necessary additional elements required to transform the nature of the claims into ones that are patent eligible.