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2011 Patent Law Decisions of the Federal Circuit

American University Law Review
April 10, 2012

Wadler, Linda A., Ehrenfried, Mindy L.


This article, by Finnegan attorneys Robert Pollock, Linda Wadler, Joyce Craig, Zhenyu Yang, and Mindy Ehrenfried examines the most important patent law cases in 2011. In particular, the authors discuss the Therasense, Inc. v. Becton, Dickinson & Co. case, in which the court clarified and tightened the standard for finding inequitable conduct. The authors also address the Association for Molecular Pathology v. USPTO (Myriad), where the Federal Circuit tackled the sensitive issue of whether DNA molecules are patent-eligible subject matter, and the Supreme Court’s decision in Microsoft v. i4i Ltd. Partnership, in which the Court reaffirmed the “clear and convincing evidence” standard applies regardless of the evidentiary basis for an obviousness challenge. Further, the author’s discuss the impact of the America Invents Act (AIA), the first major overhaul of the Patent Act in the twenty-first century. The authors conclude that “2011 will be remembered as a watershed year in the annals of patent law, a year marked by seminal decisions by the Federal Circuit, a year punctuated by the Supreme Court’s affirmation of the bedrock “clear and convincing” standard of proving obviousness, and a year capped by the landmark AIA.”

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