October 16, 2009 (Mountain View and San Francisco, CA) – Fenwick & West LLP yesterday filed an amicus brief with the Federal Circuit on behalf of the country's leading research institutions, including The Regents of the University of California, University of Texas System, University of Rochester, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, The Research Foundation of State University of New York (SUNY), and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, among others. The amicus brief was filed in the en banc case of Ariad Pharmaceuticals v. Eli Lilly.
This case presents the question of whether there is a section 112 written description requirement for patents, and what the scope of that requirement is. The written description requirement has posed unique issues for biotechnology inventions, and has been interpreted to require extensive disclosures. This presents a special concern for universities and research institutions who may conduct important basic research, but do not have the resources to develop all potential applications. Universities instead rely on patents to encourage investment by the private sector in bringing this technology to patients.
Fenwick & West's Life Sciences Industry Group consists of more than 40 attorneys and scientists who provide a broad mix of core legal services to private companies, public companies, investors and research institutions. Many of our Life Sciences Group attorneys have scientific and research experience prior to their legal careers, and a number have advanced technical degrees in disciplines such as molecular biology, organic chemistry, electrical engineering, and immunology.