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Category: AIA

The Federal Circuit’s First Application of the AIA’s On-Sale Bar: Implications for Bio/Pharma

When a small pharmaceutical company discovers a new medicine, it’s not uncommon for the company – which may not itself have the resources or infrastructure to get that medicine to patients – to seek a distribution partner early in development.  If the partners make a deal – say the distributor pays for the right to sell the drug (if it gets approved) – and the partners publicize the existence of the deal (but not the full details of the medicine), does the deal bar a patent filed more than one year later?  In Helsinn Healthcare S.A v. Teva Pharms. USA, Inc. (May 1, 2017), a unanimous panel of the Federal Circuit ruled that the on-sale bar of the America Invents Act (AIA) precludes such a patent, just as the pre-AIA on-sale bar would.  But, in a decision with the potential to chill deals between small bio/pharma companies and potential commercialization partners, the court left unresolved some important questions about the meaning of the AIA’s on-sale bar.

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