The Patent Chronicle

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What you do not know about patents

(May 08, 2017) Your weekly dose from the world of patents. The Patent Chronicle is led by Syam Anand, who has been at the core of CSG’s development and an entrepreneur himself. This section is your go to destination every week for a capsule dose on the hottest happenings in the patent world. Syam has clinically dissected out every news on the decision, the background and the impact. He is also in the process of building his scicomm team for this section. If you would like to come aboard, mail him at


Section 1498 threat to Gilead Hepatitis C medicine

Decision: The state of Louisiana is planning to use a Federal Law that goes back to 1910 that allows government regulators to appropriate inventions and use the products for public good.

Reason: Antivirals for Hepatitis C such as Sovaldi and Harvoni are made by Gilead are turning out to be expensive for Louisiana. Patent laws are in the way of procuring drugs from generic manufacturers. Louisiana wants the Trump administration to consider using the old law to negotiate affordable prices.

Impact: It is reported that top academic and legal health specialists are of the opinion that Louisiana pursue this avenue. At the same time, it is doubtful whether the Trump administration will support Louisiana State in this effort. It would need the current Health and Human Services Secretary to act. His record indicates otherwise. That said, a decent threat of invoking the law could bring Gilead to the negotiating table.

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NantKWest suffers court setback

Decision: The federal circuit court upheld the USPTO’s rejection of the claims in a NantKWest patent application for curing cancer using Natural killer cells.

An immune cell (orange) attacks a cancer cell (blue), feeling out its surface structure. (source)

Reason: The court found that the claims were obvious in the light of prior art.

Impact: NantKWest is struggling since 2016 from a stock sell-off that wiped out nearly half of the company’s value. The hope that remained was the uniqueness of the company’s approach to cure cancer employing Natural killer cells. The court decision reduces the prospects of a rebounce for NantKWest’s fortunes.

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Fidget Spinner inventor let patent expire in 2005

Decision: Way back in 2005, inventor of the now popular Fidget Spinner let her patent on the toy expire by not paying the maintenance fees.

GIF of a fidget spinner (source)

Reason: The inventor simply did not have money to pay the fees.
Impact: The inventor is left with no rights to an invention that has become very popular. Sadly, it appears that she made no profit, while others do, out of a toy that she originally made for her 7-year old daughter. It also appears that she is failing to make her ends meet in spite of the obvious success of her invention in the market. The toy has very become popular (almost to extent of becoming annoying in class rooms as students “fidget” with them all the time) and also finds potential applications in therapy for conditions such as ADHD.

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New licenses strengthen Novartis CAR-T

Decision: Bluebird and Celyad licensed their patents on lentiviral vectors and CAR-T to Novartis.

(GIF showing the infection process of lentiviral vectors)

Reason: Novartis is rushing its CTL019 towards approval following designation of CTL019 (tisagenlecleucel) as a breakthrough technology by the FDA for potential treatment for adult patients with relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). They needed the license to allow them access to the technologies owned by Bluebird Celyad to further develop the CAR-T technology.

Impact: CAR-T has been a high-traffic deal-making arena. The acquiring of IP rights to Bluebird and Celyad patents will allow Novartis to pursue CAR-T based pipelines for DLBCL and other conditions, giving Novartis more freedom to operate in this area. The license allows Novartis to further develop the technologies.

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PTAB cites inequities on patent owner while rejecting follow-up challenges to the same patent

Decision: The USPTO PTAB declined to institute an inter partes review on a request by Akamai technolgies Inc. against Limelight Networks Inc.

Reason: Inter partes review is a post-grant challenge mechanism that may be used to question the validity of patents in the USPTO. The PTAB that deals with post-grant processes at the USPTO, felt that Akamai used PTAB’s decision just a month earlier on a similar challenge to the same Limelight Networks to guide preparation of the new challenge. PTAB stated that granting a new challenge prepared using PTAB’s earlier unfavorable judgment as a guide would be unfair to the patent owner. Further, it is PTAB’s stand that the process should not be used to make repetitive attacks on a patent.

Impact: The challenge will most likely shift venue into the courts where the two companies have been fighting several battles centered on content delivery networks (CDNs).

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About the author:


Authored by Dr Syam Anand, PhD (Indian Institute of Science, IISc; Post-Doctoral research, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Faculty, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Founder and US Patent Agent, Mainline Intellectual Property LLC, Ardmore, Philadelphia USA). Syam has over 20 years experience in diverse areas of Science with domain knowledge in Life Sciences and Intellectual Property. Dr. Anand is also an inventor and budding entrepreneur. A rationalist, Dr. Anand enjoys science at all levels and advocates the use of scientific methods for answering all questions and solving all problems and make common people curious and interested in understanding their worlds.

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