Following the Federal Circuit’s decision in Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. West-Ward Pharmaceuticals, 887 F.3d 1117 (Fed. Cir. 2018), the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a memo to the patent examination corps clarifying the patent eligibility of certain method of treatment claims. In particular, the USPTO’s guidance clarifies that method of treatment claims which practically apply natural relationships are not “directed to” the natural relationship. The patent eligibility of treatment claims reciting a natural relationship and conventional steps has been an open question for a number of years.
In their article, Improved Forecast for IP Harvest: Gathering Seeds from USPTO Memo on Vanda, Stan Chalvire and Bill Schmidt discuss how the USPTO memo provides some much needed clarity, enabling inventors to harvest further patent rights from discoveries based on natural relationships. To learn more about the takeaways from the memo, read the full article.