In the Spotlight

New CPIP Policy Brief: An Unwise Move to Discriminate Against Pharmaceutical Patents

On June 7, 2018, CPIP published a new policy brief entitled An Unwise Move to Discriminate Against Pharmaceutical Patents: Responding to the UN’s Guidelines for Pharmaceutical Patent Examination.

The brief, written by CPIP Senior Scholar and UMKC Professor of Law Chris Holman, analyzes the UN’s recent Guidelines for Pharmaceutical Patent Examination, which are influential in the policy debates regarding the role of patented pharmaceuticals in public health. Professor Holman critically examines the Guidelines, pointing out that they “put a thumb on the scale in favor of generic medications” while failing to adequately consider “the development and incremental improvement of innovative pharmaceutical products.”

To read the policy brief, please click here.

CPIP, Lemelson Center, & USPTO to Co-Host Panel Discussion: Two Centuries of American Innovation and 10 Million Patents

On Wednesday, June 20, 2018, CPIP, the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, and the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office will co-host a panel discussion at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History entitled Two Centuries of American Innovation and 10 Million Patents.

Signed by President George Washington, the first US Patent was issued in 1790. This June, the USPTO will issue patent number 10,000,000. These ten million utility patents represent two centuries of breakthroughs that transformed the United States into the world’s innovation leader even as inventors from around the world have sought US patent protection.

Panelists will discuss the importance of patents to the work of inventors and explore how, over the past 200 years, inventions have moved from basements, garages, and university, government, and industrial labs to everyday use. Yet, throughout this history, women and minorities have been dramatically underrepresented in the invention and innovation ecosystem. The panel will discuss what is changing about who invents and what is needed to unleash greater creativity across the United States and worldwide.

Hear from inventors, gain insights on the patent system, see rare original materials from the national collections, and join us as we celebrate ten million US patents!


CPIP and ITIF Release Innovate4Health Report on Role of IP in Solving Global Health Challenges

On April 24, 2018, CPIP and the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) released our joint report: Innovate4Health: How Innovators Are Solving Global Health Challenges. The report details 25 important healthcare innovations that are being created by and for people in the developing world, where some of the most urgent challenges remain. Each of these innovations is supported by a strong intellectual property system, and many would not be viable without the security provided by these rights.

The video from our release event this past Tuesday can be found here and is embedded below. The full Innovate4Health report can be found here. The individual stories can also be found here on the project’s Medium website.

To read the report, please click here.

CPIP Scholars Ask Federal Circuit to Protect Innovation in the Life Sciences

On April 20, 2018, a group of CPIP scholars—Chris Holman, David Lund, Adam Mossoff, and Kristen Osenga—filed an amicus brief in Natural Alternatives International v. Creative Compounds, a case currently on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The amici ask the appellate court to correct the district court’s misapplication of the patent-eligibility test under Section 101 of the Patent Act since it threatens innovation in the life sciences.

The plaintiff-patentee, Natural Alternatives International or NAI, provides nutritional products, including proprietary ingredients and customized nutritional supplements, to its clients. NAI owns several patents relating to beta-alanine, a non-essential amino acid that delays the onset of muscle fatigue. The district court held that the claims were ineligible subject matter under the two-step Alice-Mayo test: the claims were directed to a natural phenomenon and lacked an inventive concept containing more than conventional, routine activity.

The amici point out that the district court’s overly-restricted view of patent-eligibility doctrine will dissuade the research and development of natural products that are beneficial for mankind. They note that the district court glossed over several predicate factual questions and failed to properly consider the claims as a whole. They conclude that the continued misapplication of the Section 101 analysis has resulted in legal uncertainty, undermining the innovation industries that rely on stable and effective patent rights.

To read the amicus brief, please click here.

WIPO-CPIP Summer School on Intellectual Property on June 11-22 at Scalia Law School

The Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP) at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University, has partnered with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to host the WIPO-CPIP Summer School on Intellectual Property.

This exclusive, two-week summer course will be held in Arlington, Virginia—just minutes from Washington, D.C., one of the world’s key centers of IP law and policymaking. The course provides a unique opportunity for students, professionals, and government officials to work with leading experts and gain a deeper knowledge of IP to advance their careers.

The course consists of lectures, case studies, simulation exercises, and group discussions on selected IP topics, with an orientation towards the interface between IP and other disciplines. A certificate of participation is awarded to participants who successfully complete the course requirements.


CPIP Scholars Ask Federal Circuit to Fix Patent Eligibility Doctrine in Cleveland Clinic Appeal

On February 28, 2018, a group of CPIP scholars filed an amicus brief in Cleveland Clinic Foundation v. True Health Diagnostics, a case currently on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The patents at issue cover diagnostic tests used to assess a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office initially found the claims to be unpatentable subject matter under Section 101; however, the claims were eventually allowed as new and unconventional applications of known laboratory techniques. Nevertheless, the district court held the claims unpatentable under Section 101, reasoning that they were ineligible under the Alice-Mayo test.

The amicus brief filed last week, written by CPIP’s David Lund and Adam Mossoff, points out that the diagnostic methods at issue are the very sort of innovations the patent system is meant to encourage. Moreover, given the factual conclusions that must be made in order to determine whether the claims are directed to a natural law or whether the laboratory techniques are routine and conventional, they argue that the procedural posture of the case—a motion to dismiss—precludes proper application of the Alice-Mayo test. They note that misapplication of the patent eligibility test continues to lead courts to reject patent protection for many meritorious inventions—as demonstrated in this very case. The amici urge the Federal Circuit to bring clarity and predictability to Section 101 doctrine by rejecting the district court’s conclusory assertions that were made without proper factual support.

To read the amicus brief, please click here.

CPIP Scholars Join Letter to Antitrust Chief Applauding DOJ’s New Evidence-Based Approach to IP Enforcement

On February 13, 2018, scholars from the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP), along with a group of judges, former judges and government officials, law professors and economists with expertise in antitrust law and patent law, sent a letter to Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim applauding his recent announcements that the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) would now take a balanced, evidence-based approach in applying antitrust law to patent licensing, especially to patented innovations that have been contributed to technological standards.

Signatories to the letter include Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg of the D.C. Circuit, former Chief Judge Paul Michel of the Federal Circuit, former FTC Commissioner Joshua D. Wright, and former Director of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office David Kappos, among others.

“This letter to AAG Makan Delrahim from judges, former judges and government officials, legal scholars and economists is very important,” said Adam Mossoff, Professor of Law at Antonin Scalia Law School of George Mason University, and one of the signers of the letter. “It makes clear the necessity of evidence-based, balanced policy-making by government officials whose regulatory actions directly impact the hundreds of millions in R&D investments and the resulting technological products and services that drive our innovation economy. We would not buy computers or smartphones built entirely on the basis of unproven theories, and the government policies that control the development and sale of these products in the marketplace should equally be based on solid evidence of the role of patented innovation in benefiting consumers.”

To read the letter, please click here.