In Ariad, an en banc Federal Circuit is set to determine whether (and how) the written description requirement is separate and distinct from enablement. The questions presented read as follows:
1. Whether 35 U.S.C. § 112, paragraph 1, contains a written-description requirement separate from the enablement requirement.
2. If a separate written-description requirement is set forth in the statute, what is the scope and purpose of that requirement?
I’m interested in finding cases where the written description requirement has been critical to the outcome. More particularly, I’m interested in seeing cases where the invention is sufficiently described but is not enabled. The recent major written description cases are seemingly only tied to written description doctrine because the panels chose to focus on that argument rather than enablement. A case-in-point is Ariad v. Eli Lilly. As in most written description cases, Ariad’s patent was also challenged on enablement grounds. However, rather than reaching the enablement question, the panel majority held that question moot in the wake of their finding that the asserted claims were invalid on written description. The same result occurred in University Of Rochester v. G.D. Searle & Co., Inc., 358 F.3d 916 (Fed. Cir. 2004) (holding that “in view of our affirmance of the district court’s decisions [invalidating the claims] on the written description ground, we consider the enablement issue to be moot and will not discuss it further.”). The LizardTech decision held the asserted claim invalid under both enablement and written description doctrines.
Using the language lf LizardTech, what are examples of cases where the specification provides enough disclosure “to convince a person of skill in the art that the inventor possessed the invention” but not enough to “enable such a person to make and use the invention without undue experimentation.”