On June 7, 2018 the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a new Memorandum that clarifies its view of Subject Matter Eligibility, under 35 U.S.C. § 101, regarding the patentability of Personalized Medicine discoveries.

The Memorandum was prompted by the Federal Circuit’s recent Vanda decision, where the Court provided its own insights as to the Subject Matter Eligibility of Personalized Medicine patent claims. [1] The claims in Vanda recited a method of treating a patient suffering from schizophrenia with the drug, iloperidone, and included specific steps, such as administering iloperidone to the patient in an amount guided by the genotype of the patient, which can predict the rate of drug metabolism. The Court summarized Vanda by stating: “The inventors recognized the relationships between iloperidone, CYP2D6 metabolism, and QTc prolongation, but that is not what they claimed. They claimed an application of that relationship.” Continue Reading Patent Office Guidance Improves Personalized Medicine’s Long-Term Prognosis

For those of you who may have lost hope regarding the patentability of personalized medicine discoveries, here’s some encouragement.  Recently the Federal Circuit affirmed the validity of a patent directed to a method of treating schizophrenia, which is based on genetic testing of the patient. Vanda Pharms. Inc. v. West-Ward Pharms. Int’l Ltd., Nos. 2016-2707, 2016-2708, 2018 WL 1770273, —F.3d — (Fed. Cir. Apr. 13, 2018).  The Court found that the claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,586,610 were patent eligible and not drawn to a law of nature under 35 U.S.C. § 101.  Claim 1 is representative and is shown below: Continue Reading Personalized Medicine Patents: Federal Circuit Gives Personalized Medicine Patents a Shot In The Arm

Sir Stoddart
Sir Stoddart

For Husch Blackwell’s Northwestern University grad school alums, Laura Labeots (Ph.D. 1992) and Ed Gamson (Ph.D. 1970), it was a huge thrill to learn that one of their own, a fellow chemist from Northwestern, had won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry last week. Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, who specializes in Nanotechnology, will be awarded the Nobel this December in Stockholm, Sweden, for his groundbreaking work on “molecular machines.” He and his group have devised molecules that remarkably can do mechanical work, such as lifting and moving other small molecules. Continue Reading Husch Blackwell attorneys celebrate Nobel Prize winner

Technology -circuit board-144346637An entrepreneurial company may face an early decision as to how it can afford to develop new technology, particularly new technology that does not fit within the technical specialties of that entity. Whether a new company needs to develop a new website, new software, or a compatible piece of technology, that company might consider entering into a contractual alliance with another party to develop that technology. Continue Reading Let’s Stay Together: Negotiating a Successful Joint Technology Development Agreement

curtains_000003766048Small1-001-300x199Healthcare is a highly competitive market. Healthcare companies are hiring marketing teams to lure customers to their facility. This will invariably require making statements regarding the quality of your services and how your services are better than your competitors. Problems will arise if these ads cause patients or their families to expect more than what is or even can be offered. There are many scenarios that could result in claims of false advertising under §43(a) of the Lanham Act. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus have guidelines for what companies may include within their marketing programs. Today, however, we will be looking at “puffery.” Continue Reading Branding 101 – Should puffery be avoided in healthcare advertising?

curtains_000003766048Small1-001-300x199In one of our first posts, we discussed the five categories of trademarks (Generic – Descriptive – Suggestive – Arbitrary – Fanciful) and how a mark became more protectable as it moved up the line. Laudatory trademarks, trademarks that attribute a quality or excellence to the goods or services, are often included in this list as “descriptive marks” requiring a showing of secondary meaning to be protectable. However, it has been recognized that some laudatory marks do not describe any feature of the product it is used with, but rather suggest that the product is of high quality or “better” quality than other similar products. In these cases, the laudatory composite mark may be considered to be suggestive. Continue Reading Branding 101 – Laudatory Trademarks: Are they worth the effort?

curtains_000003766048Small1-001-300x199This week we are discussing ways you can use a third party’s mark to identify the third party’s goods or services while also advertising your own. For example, a dental office wants to let potential patients know that it uses a specific brand of dental veneers. The law allows XYZ Dental to factually state:

“XYZ Dental specializes in the fitting and application of ABC® brand veneers.”

This type of use is known as nominative fair use and as with comparative advertising and descriptive fair use, there are rules that need to be followed. Continue Reading Branding 101: Nominative Fair Use

curtains_000003766048Small1-001-300x199Last week we discussed ways that you can use a competitor’s mark in comparative advertising. This week we will discuss use of a mark in a descriptive manner such that it is not being used as a trademark, thereby greatly reducing, if not eliminating, the possibility of the use being found to be trademark infringement. Continue Reading Branding 101 – Trademark Descriptive Fair Use

curtains_000003766048Small1-001-300x199We have talked about why it is important to use your trademark consistently. The easiest way to be sure that everyone in your organization knows the proper way to use the company’s trademarks is to create and distribute a trademark usage manual. The trademark usage manual should include easy to follow guidelines setting out that the mark is to be used as an adjective and not a noun, as well as the proper font, colors etc. that should be used to depict the mark. The usage manual does not need to be a complex or confusing document. It should be a straightforward listing of the acceptable ways that the company’s trademark should be used. Continue Reading Branding 101: Trademark Usage Manuals