Brilliant New Book on Ethics in Prosecution 2015 Edition Out Now!

By David Hricik

Proud to announce that the 3rd edition of Patent Ethics: Prosecution that I co-authored with Mercedes Meyer is now available here!  This edition adds a massive amount of new material to deal with the new PTO ethics rules and the fast-moving, roller coaster world of ethical issues in patent practice!

From the description:

Patent Ethics: Prosecution (2015 Edition), by David Hricik and Mercedes Meyer, is an essential guide to the ethical issues arising in the course of the patent prosecution process. By providing relevant rules and case law, it allows practitioners to identify ethical problems before they arise and to address them most effectively when they do. Patent Ethics: Prosecution is one of two volumes on patent ethics — the second focuses on litigation — and is the first of its kind to combine the United State Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) rules with commentary by the authors, which distills the authors’ own experience and expertise in patent prosecution into effective practice strategies.

The 2015 Edition is particularly relevant considering the significant ramifications with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) repealing its existing rules, the USPTO Code of Professional Responsibility, and replacing them with the new USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct. Furthermore, the 2015 Edition also comprehensively discusses ethical issues of major concern for patent law practitioners such as:
•   The increase in malpractice claims based upon patent prosecution as well as recent significant verdicts of $30 million and $70 million.

•   The USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline’s vigorous enforcement efforts, continued persistence in asserting a broad view of its jurisdiction, and resulting increase in the volume of case law and other authorities.

•   The troublesome issue of best mode and the America Invents Act.

•   The various ethical issues surrounding patent agents.

The 2015 Edition features new analysis of current client conflicts in patent practice, including when prosecution and opinion work become “adverse” to a client, the conflicts of interest created by the AIA’s approach to the best mode, and duty of candor post-Therasense. It also includes an updated PTO Code completely annotated with OED decisions on each provision.

Makes a perfect Christmas present, too!  Buy one for every lawyer in your firm!  Heck, buy two so they have one at home!

Federal Circuit Affirms District Court’s Extension of 30-Month FDA Stay

Eli Lilly v. Teva Pharmaceuticals (Fed. Cir. 2009)

Teva is hoping to make a generic version of Lilly’s Evista brand raloxifene tablets that are used to help prevent postmenopausal osteoporosis. In May 2006, Teva filed an abbreviated new drug agreement (ANDA) and Lilly subsequently sued for patent infringement and to block the generic release. Under the law, after the patentee files suit, the FDA cannot then approve the generic for thirty months “unless the court has extended or reduced the period because of a failure of either [party] to cooperate reasonably in expediting the action.” This is commonly known as the “thirty month stay.”

In this case, the court originally set a trial date four months after the end of the thirty month period. In the months leading up to trial Teva altered its proposed generic formulation, which changed Lilly’s litigation strategy. As a result, the district court ordered that the FDA thirty month stay be extended for four extra months – until May 2009. Teva filed an emergency appeal to lift the stay.

On appeal, a split Federal Circuit panel affirmed – finding that the district court acted within its discretion in extending the stay based on Teva’s activity. “Trial courts, thus, may shorten or extend the thirty-month statutory period based on the parties’ uncooperative discovery practices before the court.” In its decision, the court distinguished the 2002 Andrx v. Bioval case. In Andrx, the Federal Circuit found that the district court had abused its discretion in shortening a thirty-month stay based on a party’s “positions before the FDA.” Rather, changes to the thirty-month period must be based on failure to cooperate court.

In dissent, Judge Prost argued that the majority misinterpreted the statute to grant too much deference to the district court in extending the stay. Rather, the statute requires that the stay should only be extended when a party fails “to cooperate reasonably in expediting the action.” Here, Judge Prost argues, the lower court did not find that Teva failed to cooperate, but only that Lilly could use more time to respond. The statute is limited in a way that does not allow extension of the stay in that situation.


  • Judge Rader wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Chief Judge Michel.
  • On the expedited schedule, Appellant filed its principle brief November 24, 2008; briefing was complete on December 30, 2008; Oral arguments were heard on January 14, 2009; and a decision rendered on February 24, 2009.

Federal Circuit Announces Proposed Amendments to Its Internal Operating Procedures

The Federal Circuit has proposed several amendments to its Internal Operating Procedures (IOP).  Comments on the proposed changes are due by July 18, 2008. Most of the proposed changes reflect current practice. [Proposed changes]

Notable changes include:

  • Motion practice: When a motion relates to an appeal that has already been remanded, the motion may be referred to the same panel for consideration.
  • Expedited Appeal: The ‘motion panel’ may choose to hear an appeal as the ‘merits panel’ upon granting a motion to expedite.
  • Confidential Material: Materials submitted subject to a protective order will be disposed of upon completion of the case.
  • Making orders Public: The old rules distinguished how precedential and non-precedential materials were publicized. Under the new rule, “all dispositions” are to be published in the daily disposition sheet.

CAFC Reverses After Lower Court Denies Patentee the Opportunity to Present a New Infringement Argument on Remand

CertificateofcorrectionCentral Admixture Pharmacy Services v. Advanced Cardiac Solutions (Fed. Cir. 2008) (Non-precedential)

Most non-precedential opinions affirm the lower court. In fact, this decision is the first non-precedential reversal of 2008 (according to a Lexis search). In the prior decision, the CAFC voided a certificate of correction that had attempted to change a claim limitation from osmolarity to osmolality.

The final line of the original opinion reads as follows: “On remand, CAPS [the patentee] may pursue its allegations of infringement of the uncorrected ‘osmolarity’ version of the ’515 patent claims.” However, after the remand the district court refused to allow CAPS to prove infringement based on the uncorrected version of the patent.  Its reasoning was that CAPS had previously stated that it would not pursue that theory of infringement.

On appeal the second time, the CAFC reversed and remanded — holding that its prior order was “clear: on remand, the district court was to decide the merits of CAPS’s infringement claim under the pre-[Certificate of Correction] claims.  The district court was not at liberty to ‘determine’ the issue on procedural grounds, as it did.”

Reversed and remanded for consideration of the patentee’s infringement arguments.


  • This panel included Judges Schall, Clevenger, and Gajarsa. 
  • The original panel included Judges Schall, Gajarsa, and Prost. Opinion by Gajarsa [LINK]
  • The patent at issue (No. 4,988,515) covers a solution of glucose and amino acids used to nourish heart tissue during open heart surgery when blood flow is stopped.
  • This decision appears quite limited. The patentee is able to present its new infringement argument because the original CAFC opinion specifically ordered the court to allow the new argument. This decision does not require a reversed lower court to allow a party to present arguments that had previously been dropped.