On July 1, 2014, in AbbVie Deutschland GmbH & Co. v. Janssen Biotech, Inc.,
In light of the court’s express skepticism regarding functionally defined genus claims, my expectation is that challenges to the validity of these types of patents on written description grounds will continue to grow. And, generally speaking, I think that is a good thing. Allowing patentees to claim a broad genus without appropriately disclosing species sufficient to support those claims almost certainly gives rise to undeserved patent protection on inventions that simply were never invented. Indeed, such a grant is at odds with the very purpose of the patent laws—a patentee should not be granted a monopoly on an invention he or she has yet to invent or fails to appropriately disclose to the public. I also believe the decision could be a boon for pharmaceutical innovation. As these broad patents begin to fall, I expect that pharmaceutical manufacturers will have a greater incentive to innovate in various areas of biological science that until now fell within the scope of broad, functionally defined genus claims of various biological-science patents.