Challenging patents okayed

Supreme Court ruling will have mixed impact on the biotech industry, experts say

Andrea Gawrylewski
Jan 17, 2007
The U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week allowing companies to challenge patents while under license may increase lawsuit frequency and force biotechnology companies to tread carefully when applying for patents, but is less likely to affect research or funding, according to biotech experts."I don't think this [ruling] is a major impediment" to research in the biotech industry, Robert Nicholas, a biotech patent attorney at McDermott Will and Emory, told The Scientist. "People are going to continue to invest in areas that have a lot of biomedical promise."The 8-1 ruling found that MedImmune could continue its lawsuit against Genentech over the validity of Genentech's patent on Cabilly II, a process involving the production of human antibodies. MedImmune obtained a license for Cabilly I in 1997, which it uses to make Synagis, a drug that prevents lower respiratory tract disease in children and accounted for approximately 80 percent of the company's...

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