Quarterly Journal 50-3
In This Section
Reza Roghani Esfahani and Howard Bromberg
Despite being expressly protected by the U.S. Constitution, patent protection and enforcement for marijuana-related inventions is mired in many questions. These questions are a subset of the contradictions in the law of marijuana, where the federal government prohibits marijuana use and yet many of the states legalize, regulate, and tax it. In patent procurement context, these questions arise because of the interplay between marijuana prohibition as a Schedule I drug and the patentability requirements of the Patent Act. In patent enforcement context, these questions are the result of the federal judiciary’s responsibility to interpret and administer all federal laws—including the Controlled Substance Act, classifying marijuana as a Schedule I drug, and the Patent Act, demanding remedy for infringement of patents that necessarily advance illegal activity. This article examines the interface of some of the patentability requirements of the Patent Act with marijuana-related inventions. The article concludes that although marijuana-related inventions are likely patentable, criminalization of marijuana affects the quality of the granted patents. Further, this article identifies several issues that arise in enforcing a marijuana-related patent in federal court. These issues may include securing representation, dangers of self-incrimination, and identifying infringing parties. As a byproduct of these issues, this article concludes that the marijuana industry may be particularly vulnerable to frivolous lawsuits by Patent Assertion Entities.
Jordan M. Cowger
This note seeks to address the uncertainty surrounding patent eligibility for DNA and DNA-derivative pharmaceuticals. Inconsistent judicial decisions and lack of action by the Supreme Court make this issue ripe for resolution. Due to the importance of DNA-derivative pharmaceuticals—not just to precision medicine but also to the United States’ position as a life science leader in the global economy—Congress must take action now. Following Europe’s approach, Congress should adopt a revised version of the draft Tillis-Coons STRONGER Patents Act, which includes an additional subsection to section 101 specifically calling for patent protection for DNA-derivative inventions.
Joshua A. Lopez
Many members of the patent community seek clarification of subject matter eligibility law, but administrative rulemaking would be a problematic approach. The Supreme Court has carved out what qualifies as a “process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter” under 35 U.S.C. § 101 - Inventions patentable. Although the Court has dealt with this statute in decades past, it began in 2012 to reinvigorate the rule that “laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas” are not patent eligible. Mayo, Myriad, and Alice mark the Court’s recent encounters with section 101. Respectively, these cases have heightened the patent standard for three major areas: diagnostic tools, genetics, and software. If Congress grants the USPTO rulemaking authority to clarify or enhance the eligibility standards, the agency’s rules would likely reflect a similar technological split. This is problematic because technological discrimination is prohibited under TRIPS Article 27, and divided USPTO rule makers could invite harmful divide-and-conquer influence. Legislators should work to make section 101 more fair and sensible, but they should delegate rulemaking authority with caution.
AIPLA CLE Webinar: Damages 2023 Year-in-Review: Lessons and Litigation Strategies
March 12, 2024 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM | Up to 90 Mins CLEThis year’s panel of experts will leverage decades of deep litigation experience in patent- and other IP-related matters to provide webinar attendees with additional insight on recent cases from the perspectives of private practice litigators and testifying experts. In a conversational format, our panel will address issues of high importance from 2023’s most interesting IP damages cases. Among other topics, our panel will discuss recent developments in admissibility, apportionment, reliance on technical expert opinions, post-trial royalties, trade secret damages, and copyright statutory damages.
2024 Trade Secret Summit
March 14 to 15, 2024Registration is now Open! Please join the AIPLA Trade Secret Committee for the 2024 Trade Secret Summit, which is being held March 14-15, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. The AIPLA Trade Secret Summit is the leading trade secret conference in the nation, with speakers from across the spectrum of private practitioners, in-house counsel, government, and academia, as well as fantastic networking opportunities. Registration is now open!
2024 Advanced Chemical Patent Practice Institute
May 14 to 15, 2024This advanced course offers how the chemical/pharma patent practitioners can use fundamentally sound but oft overlooked principles to prepare and prosecute a United States chemical/pharma patent application to withstand both PTAB and district court challenges. The principles taught will greatly help those advanced chemical/pharma patent practitioners involved with prelitigation, portfolio management, litigation, Orange Book listings, Purple Book/BCPIA, regulatory practice, due diligence, health checks, and analysis of third-party patents for validity/patentability, infringement, and enforceability issues, as well as for preparing IPR and/or PGR petitions and defending the patent against them.
AIPLA 2024 Spring Meeting
May 16 to 18, 2024Join us as we bring IP professionals together to learn and connect. More information coming soon! The 2024 Spring meeting will take place in downtown Austin, at the Hilton Austin. Leadership Meetings on Wednesday, May 15. Programming scheduled May 16-18.
AIPLA 2024 Annual Meeting
October 24 to 26, 2024Join us as we bring IP professionals together to learn and connect. More information coming soon! The 2024 Annual meeting will take place at the Gaylord National Harbor Resort. Leadership Meetings on Wednesday, October 23. Programming scheduled October 24-26.