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Federal Circuit Flash Digest: News In Brief

By Cristina Carapezza

Rosen Wins TV Headrest Patent Suit

Federal Circuit Allows for Declaratory Judgment of Noninfringement for Disclaimed Patent

Federal Circuit Prohibits Third Party Challenges to Patent Application Revivals Under the APA

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Government Agents Indicted for Wire Fraud and Money Laundering in Silk Road Investigation

By Sheri Pan – Edited by Jens Frankenreiter

Two former Drug Enforcement Administration agents have been charged for wire fraud and money laundering in connection with an investigation of Silk Road, a digital black market that allowed people to anonymously buy drugs and other illicit goods using Bitcoin, a digital currency. The two agents were members of the Baltimore Silk Road Task Force and allegedly used their official capacities and resources to steal Bitcoins for their personal gain.

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Mississippi Attorney General’s investigation of Google temporarily halted by federal court

By Lan Du – Edited by Katherine Kwong

On March 2, 2015, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood’s investigation of Google was halted by a federal court granting Google’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate issued the opinion. Judge Wingate found a substantial likelihood that Hood’s investigation violated Google’s First Amendment rights by content regulation of speech and placing limits of public access to information.

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Federal Circuit Flash Digest

By Ken Winterbottom

J.P. Morgan Appeal Dismissed for Lack of Jurisdiction

Court Agrees with USPTO: Settlement Agreements Are Not Grounds for Dismissing Patent Validity Challenges

Attorney Misconduct-Based Fee-Shifting Request Revived in Light of Recent Supreme Court Decision

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Pass the Patented Peas, Please: EPO Upholds Plant Product Patents

By Amanda Liverzani – Edited by Paulius Jurcys

Everything’s coming up roses for plant patent holders, following the European Patent Office’s recent endorsement of patents for tomato and broccoli plants.  In a March 25, 2015 decision, the Enlarged Board of Appeal held that the European Patent Convention’s Article 53(b) prohibition on patents for production of plants by “essentially biological processes . . . does not have a negative effect on the allowability of a product claim directed to plants.”

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S.D.N.Y. Determines Family Guy Parody Is Protected by Fair Use
By Leocadie Welling – Edited by Joshua Gruenspecht

Bourne Co. v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
S.D.N.Y, March 16, 2009, 07 Civ. 8580
Opinion (hosted by Exclusive Rights)

On March 16, 2009, Judge Batts of the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment for the defendants in a copyright infringement suit against the creators, producers and broadcasters of the television series Family Guy. Plaintiff Bourne Co. is the sole owner of the copyright to the popular song “When You Wish Upon a Star.” The plaintiff claimed that defendants had copied “When You Wish Upon a Star” in a “thinly veiled” manner in their song “I Need a Jew,” which appeared in an episode entitled “When You Wish Upon a Weinstein.”

Judge Batts first determined that “I Need a Jew” was parody, not satire, with a correspondingly greater need to borrow from source material. The court then established that the song satisfied the four-prong test for fair use forth set forth by the 1976 Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 107, which, as developed by case law, places emphasis on the purpose and character of the use and the effect of the use on the potential market for the copyrighted content. The court therefore held that the importation of the melody was protected fair use. 

Reuters provides the basic facts. Exclusive Rights offers an overview of the opinion, examining the court’s treatment of the parody versus satire distinction and providing a brief video excerpt of “I Need a Jew.”
Legal Geekery also covers the opinion, characterizing it as a victory for fair use, and comments upon society’s willingness to depend on fair use as a shield against aggressive copyright enforcement. 
The animated film site suite101 hosts an article providing background on the Family Guy spoof from an industry perspective. 

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Posted On Mar - 22 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

By Sarah Sorscher*, JD/MPH Candidate, Harvard Law School &
Sara Crager, MD/PhD Candidate, Yale

Editorial Policy

Text of H.R. 1427
Summary

Last week, Rep. Henry Waxman and several other representatives unveiled the latest version of a bill designed to lower the price of drugs by encouraging generic competition in biological products (“biologics”). Biologics are products derived from living processes and used to prevent, treat, or cure human illness. Most drugs, in contrast, are synthesized using chemical reactions.  Biologics include products such as vaccines, blood-derived products, antibodies, and recombinant proteins (e.g. proteins that modulate the immune system, or proteins that induce the proliferation of red blood cells). Over the past 30 years, a revolution in recombinant DNA technology has propelled the sub-field of biologics from the periphery into prominence in the biopharmaceutical industry. Three of the top 10 best-selling drugs in the U.S. in 2007 were biologics (Enbrel, Aransep, and Epogen), and biological products now represent some of the most expensive drugs on the market; annual per-patient treatment costs for one expensive drug topped $300,000 last year.

The new bill, H.R. 1427, dubbed the “Promoting Innovation and Access to Life-Saving Medicines Act,” is intended to introduce price competition in biologics by granting the FDA clear authority to approve generic, or “follow-on” biologics, which are comparable in safety and efficacy to biologics already on the market. The new legislation is modeled on the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984, which allowed generic manufacturers to gain market approval by showing that their products were interchangeable, or bio-equivalent, with previously approved products, without the need to preform additional clinical trials. Until now, the FDA has been reluctant to allow for this type of abbreviated approval for biologics, which have historically been regulated under a different legal regime from other drugs. Although, as described in this testimony by an FDA official, the story is more complicated. Some proteins that were initially purified from human and animal tissues, such as insulin and human growth hormone, were categorized as drugs when they first obtained FDA market approval. Today these substances remain regulated as drugs, even though they are now synthesized using recombinant DNA technology, like many biologics.
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Posted On Mar - 19 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

In re Bilski Redefined?
By Briahna Gray – Edited by Anthony Kammer

In re Lewis Ferguson, Darryl Costin and Scott C. Harris
Federal Circuit, March 6, 2009, Serial No. 09/387,823
Order

On March 6, 2009, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences that a marketing paradigm for multiple independent software companies fashioned by Lewis Ferguson, Darryl Costin, and Scott C. Harris was not patentable under the U.S. Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. § 101.

Judge Gajarsa, writing for the majority, applied the test set forth in In re Bilski opinion from October 30, 2008, which rejected the “useful, concrete and tangible result” test the Federal Circuit had established ten years earlier in State Street v. Signature Financial Group. Judge Newman argued in her concurrence that the majority redefines Bilski and unduly undermines legitimate tests established by precedent, introducing ambiguity into the law.

The authors at Mass Law Blog gave a brief description of the case and applaud the outcome. PatentlyO.com explores the case with commentary. The Digest covered the In re Bilski decision back in October.
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Posted On Mar - 15 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Mary J. Blige’s “Family Affair” Not a Copyright Violation
By Jia Ryu – Edited by Anthony Kammer

Jones v. Blige
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, March 9, 2009
Slip Opinion

On March 9, 2009, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed a Michigan district court’s grant of summary judgment for defendant, Mary J. Blige in a copyright infringement case. Plaintiffs Leonard Jones and James E. White had filed suit against Defendants Mary J. Blige, Andre Young (aka “Dr. Dre”), Universal Music Group (“UMG”), and others for copyright infringement.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision, holding that the songs were not substantially similar and that the Plaintiffs had not provided sufficient evidence to establish Defendants’ access to their work under the “corporate receipt” doctrine. Exclusive Rights offers commentary, focusing on the distinction made in this case between the corporate receipt doctrine and “bare corporate receipt.” The Michigan Messenger briefly summarized the opinion here. (more…)

Posted On Mar - 12 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST

Supreme Court Holds that FDA Regulation Does Not Preempt State Tort Claim
By Caitlyn Ross – Edited by Miriam Weiler

Wyeth v. Levine
Supreme Court of the United States, March 4, 2009, No. 06-1249
Slip Opinion

On March 4th, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed the judgment of the Vermont Supreme Court, holding that federal drug labeling regulations do not preempt state failure-to-warn lawsuits.  The Supreme Court held that compliance with FDA labeling requirements did not preempt Levine’s failure-to-warn claim based on what she alleged was defective labeling of Wyeth’s anti-nausea drug Phenergan. In so holding, the Court concluded that Congress did not intend to preempt state-law failure-to-warn actions.  It also rejected Wyeth’s claim that the Court should defer to an FDA statement, made in the preamble to a 2006 regulation, that state tort suits threatened the FDA’s statutory mandate.

Briefs and relevant court documents are available here at the SCOTUS wiki.  The SCOTUS Blog provides an overview of the case. Drug and  Device Law Blog suggests that the decision does not eliminate preemption alcims, but does make them far more difficult to win.  The Wall Street Journal Law Blog features an analysis of the decision.  The Volokh Conspiracy notes a decrease in deference to agencies.

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Posted On Mar - 9 - 2009 Comments Off READ FULL POST
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