Thursday, March 31, 2016

Cancer Immunotherapy Patent Directed to Natural Phenomenon

The court denied defendant's motion to dismiss on the ground that plaintiff’s cancer immunotherapy patent encompassed unpatentable subject matter but found that the asserted claims were directed to a natural phenomenon. "[C]ontrary to [plaintiff's] contention, the [patent-in-suit] touches upon a natural phenomenon by using T cells to activate the immune system. The [patent] relies on the known scientific fact that blocking activation of the PD-1 pathway causes this effect in the body, which enables the patient's T cells to perform their normal biological activity of removing cancer cells. This interaction is a natural phenomenon."

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company et al v. Merck & Co., Inc. et al, 1-15-cv-00572 (DED March 29, 2016, Order) (Sleet, J.)

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