Informing a Patient of a Method’s Effect is Insufficient to Render the Method Patentable
By Harry Zhou – Edited by Chinh Vo
King Pharms., Inc. v. Eon Labs, Inc., No. 2009-1437, -1438 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 2, 2010)
On August 2, 2010, the Federal Circuit affirmed the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York’s entry of summary judgment invalidating two patent claims held by King Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“King”). In addition, the court vacated summary judgment against a third-party defendant for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
King’s challenged patent claims pertained to the beneficial increase in bioavailability of a drug when the drug was ingested with food. Such claims were supported by two sources of novelty: the previously undiscovered result of increased bioavailability, and an “informing” limitation consisting of either instructing a patient to ingest metaxalone with food or applying printed labels bearing such instructions to packaging. In invalidating all of King’s claims in question, the Federal Circuit held that both alleged sources of novelty had been inherently anticipated by prior arts.
Patently-O provides an overview of the decision. Inventive Step provides a detailed summary of the court’s rationale in finding that the “informing” limitation was insufficient to impart patentability into an inherently anticipated claim. (more…)