Ariad Pharmaceuticals, MIT, and Harvard v. Eli Lilly (Fed. Cir. 2009) (en banc)
The Federal Circuit has granted Ariad's motion for an en banc rehearing of its case. The motion boldly asks whether the written description requirement should be eliminated as a doctrine that is separate and distinct from enablement. The questions:
a. Whether 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 1, contains a written description requirement separate from an enablement requirement? and
b. If a separate written description requirement is set forth in the statute, what is the scope and purpose of the requirement?
Ariad's brief is due within 45 days, and Lilly's brief is then due within thirty days of that.
Briefs of amici curiae will be entertained, and any such amicus briefs may be filed without leave of court but otherwise must comply with Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 29 and Federal Circuit Rule 29. The United States is invited to submit an amicus brief.
Value of Amicus Briefs: In its recent Cardiac Pacemaker decision, the Federal Circuit expressly indicated that it was "appreciative of these [amicus] contributions." To make one particular point in the decision, the court emphasized that Cardiac's extreme position was "not even supported by the lone amicus brief we have received in favor of including method patents within Section 271(f)'s reach."
Although the written description requirement is primarily raised in pharmaceutical and biotechnology cases, it is an increasing aspect of software patent litigation. This decision could have a significant impact both on how patents are litigated and on how they are prosecuted. The inventors here discovered an important biochemical pathway and broadly claimed uses of that pathway.
- Written Description: Araid Petitions en banc Federal Circuit to Eliminate Separate Written Description Requirement
- Written Description: Pioneering Claims Require More Expansive Written Description
- See Chris Holman's blog for more [Link]
- Other News: Today the court also lifted its stay of en banc proceedings in the Tafas v. Dudas case. Briefs are due in October. However, it is widely expected that PTO Director Kappos will end the litigation by giving up on implementation of the proposed rules.