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Sughrue Grapples With Federal Circuit Ruling on Biotech Methods

9/7/2011
The Federal Circuit recently upheld two of Classen Immunotherapies Inc.’s method Patents. The court found the claims of a third Patent too abstract and therefore insufficient to meet the minimum requirement for patent eligibility under section 101. In a two to one decision, the majority found that the immunization step of the 6,638,739 and 6,420,139 Patent rendered the claims patent eligible. Patent No. 5,723,283 was found ineligible under Section 101 because it was directed to an abstract principle, according to the court, which cannot be patented. The active step of immunizing recited by the claims was important in making the decision, according to the majority. In rendering their decision, Chief Judge Rader and Judge Newman asserted additional views, cautioning parties against asserting weak section 101 attacks in future appeals which may require the court to read into the statute limitations that were not intended. Comments on the decision published in the journal Nature may be found here. The opinion is found here.