What’s At Stake in Monsanto’s Latest Legal Headache

Last month, the Public Patent Foundation (PPF) asked the Supreme Court to hear its case challenging the validity of Monsanto’s seed patents.  If this narrative sounds familiar, that’s because it is; the case again pits the PPF and farmers against the biotech giant much like the Supreme Court case last term, Bowman v. Monsanto. While Bowman addressed critical issues of patent law raised by the self-replicating nature of transgenic seeds, the current petition in Organic Continue Reading →

Myriad: The Right Decision for the Wrong Reasons

Over half of women who carry mutations on their BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene will develop breast cancer before they are 70. Angelina Jolie recently had a double mastectomy after discovering she has a mutation in her BRCA1 gene. By doing so, she decreased her chance of developing breast cancer substantially. Now, especially for women who have a history of breast cancer in their families, knowing whether you have the gene that predisposes you to the Continue Reading →

A Patent that Self-Replicates

Does Patent Exhaustion apply to the sale of self-replicating seeds? On February 19, the Supreme Court heard the oral argument in Bowman v. Monsanto on the application of patent exhaustion to patented self-replicating seeds.  Under the doctrine of patent exhaustion, “the initial authorized sale of a patented item terminates all of the patent owner’s rights in that item.”  Monsanto holds a patent on a gene which makes plants resistant to glyphosate herbicides.  Farmers use the Continue Reading →

Alternative Statutory Bases for Invalidating “Gene Patents”

The Supreme Court recently granted a writ of certiorari in the highly controversial case Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad. In the coming months, the Court will determine whether the genetic material claimed by Myriad’s composition patents is patentable subject matter under Section 101 of the Patent Act. The high profile case has generated a widespread debate often framed as whether genes should be patentable. To the extent that the patentability of genetic material is Continue Reading →

Smartphone Wars: Part II

On August 24th, Apple won decisively in Apple v. Samsung. The jury awarded Apple $1.04 billion for infringing Apple’s intellectual property. This was less than the $2.5 billion that Apple requested, but the jury found that Apple wasn’t infringing any of Samsung’s patents. Of the many patents that were disputed, the judgment turned on three patents and Apple’s trade dress argument. The pertinent features were the following: (i) bounce-back effect; (ii) pinch-to-zoom feature; and (iii) Continue Reading →

“More Than a Drafting Effort”: SCOTUS Strikes Down Prometheus Labs Patents

On March 20, the Supreme Court handed down their unanimous decision in the case of Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. The Court struck down Prometheus’s patents stating that, regardless of the language in the claims, they were effectively patents on a law of nature which is not allowed. The Court added that any process which recites a law of nature must have other features and limitations that “provide practical assurance that the process Continue Reading →

Smartphone Wars

Apple sues Samsung for patent infringement. In response, Samsung files international countersuits on patents of its own. Courts around the world grant preliminary injunctions to each company on a number of their claims, while United States and European Union government agencies investigate allegations of antitrust violations. What’s going on here? Let’s start with the shiny new weapon that Apple added to its arsenal in June of last year: a patent on the original iPhone, the Continue Reading →

America: Last in Line for First-to-File

Who has the right to a patent for an invention?  Should it be the first inventor to file or the first inventor to invent?  The first-to-file system grants the right to a patent to the first inventor to file a patent application, regardless of the date of invention.  On the other hand, the first-to-invent system awards the patent to the inventor who first conceived of the invention and reduced the invention to practice.  The first-to-file Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – September 26, 2011

The FCC has filed its finalized net neutrality rules, set to take effect on November 20. The rules will almost certainly face legal challenges from Verizon and MetroPCS over the extent of the FCC’s jurisdiction. David Ignatius writes on legal uncertainty and difficult questions facing the future “rules of war” for drone strikes. The debate has gotten fresh attention over last week’s report that the Obama administration’s legal team is split on the extent of Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – September 6, 2011

The latest links from STLR: Last week, the Justice Department filed suit in DC District court to block AT&T’s $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile, arguing that the merger violates antitrust laws. Sprint has since filed its own lawsuit in DC District court to block the proposed deal. The Senate debates the America Invents Act on Patent Reform (H.R.1249). These proposed reforms to the patent system are expected to be passed and signed by President Obama Continue Reading →