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Articles

Ariad Decision Underlines Importance of Fully Describing Patented Biotech Inventions

June 30, 2009

Articles

Ariad Decision Underlines Importance of Fully Describing Patented Biotech Inventions

June 30, 2009

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Micheal Rosen, Brian Coggio article

Industrial Biotechnology
Michael Rosen & Brian Coggio
Summer 2009

“If you are out to describe the truth,” Einstein once said, “leave elegance to the tailor.”

Indeed, in the world of science, and biotechnology in particular, describing a concept in elegant and concise terms is the exception more than the rule.  This is no less true in the world of intellectual property, and, again, in biotech patents in particular, where disclosures of inventions – known as the “written description” – can often occupy hundreds of pages.

Part of this trend toward the verbose is by design, as highlighted in Ariad Pharmaceuticals et al v. Eli Lilly, an important April 2009 ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  There, the exclusive court for appeals for patent cases held that Ariad’s patent, while being rather lengthy, failed to provide sufficient information describing the the claimed invention (a method of reducing activity of a gene transcription factor) to satisfy the written description requirement.  The case highlights the importance of detailing invention descriptions as much as possible, especially in the biotech realm.

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