Genentech Patent Voided

LONDON—Genentech's British patent on the blood clot-dissolving tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) has been revoked after a three-week trial that featured some of the world's leading biotechnologists. But High Court Justice John Whitford was not persuaded by the assertion of Nobel laureate Paul Berg of Stanford that Genentech had a monopoly on the skills needed to make TPA by recombinant DNA techniques when it filed its patent application in May 1983. Biochemist WJ. Brammar of the Universit

John Stansell
Jul 26, 1987
LONDON—Genentech's British patent on the blood clot-dissolving tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) has been revoked after a three-week trial that featured some of the world's leading biotechnologists.

But High Court Justice John Whitford was not persuaded by the assertion of Nobel laureate Paul Berg of Stanford that Genentech had a monopoly on the skills needed to make TPA by recombinant DNA techniques when it filed its patent application in May 1983. Biochemist WJ. Brammar of the University of Leicester had told the judge, on behalf of Welicome, that all the techniques quoted in the patent were known to him on the application date.

"This patent should never have been granted," Whitford told a packed court. "I shall start [my judgment] by assuming that a [limited] claim to a process is possible. But in my view it cannot be spread to a broad claim." The one claim that may be acceptable, he...