Photo of Sharon M. Sintich, Ph.D.

Clients seeking to obtain and protect world-wide patent rights for all types of biotech innovation can benefit from the education and experience of Sharon M. Sintich, Ph.D. On their behalf, she combines expertise in all aspects of patent prosecution with technical insight gained from her graduate research in tumor cell biology. She also counsels clients in portfolio management, and provides opinions on patent validity, patent enforceability and freedom to operate issues. Whether a non-profit, startup or large company, they rely on Dr. Sintich’s committed and methodical approach to protecting their innovations in biotechnology while adding value for their businesses. Read full bio here.

The STRONGER (Support Technology & Research for Our Nation’s Growth and Economic Resilience) Patents Act of 2017 was recently introduced in the Senate.  The Act is an updated version of the STRONG Patents Act of 2015 that stalled in Congress.  Like its predecessor, the STRONGER Patents Act is designed to significantly modify the AIA trial proceedings at the PTAB.  Enactment of this Act would severely diminish the usefulness of AIA proceedings. 
Continue Reading Enactment of the STRONGER Patents Act Would Severely Limit PTAB Proceedings

Diploma IconThe Patent and Trial Appeal Board dismissed petitions for inter partes review challenging the claims of a patent owned by a state university that had neither waived the protections offered it by the Eleventh Amendment nor consented to the trial.  Covidien LP v. University of Florida Research Foundation Inc., IPR2016-01274, -01275, -01276 (PTAB Jan. 25, 2017).  Covidien LP filed three IPR petitions seeking review of U.S. Patent No. 7,062,251, which is owned by the University of Florida Research Foundation, Inc. (UFRF).  In response, UFRF filed a motion to dismiss these petitions on the basis that UFRF is immune from being brought before the Board to adjudicate Covidien’s petitions.  In dismissing the petitions, the Board applied Supreme Court and Federal Circuit precedent to determine that USRF is an arm of the State of Florida and is thus entitled to invoke sovereign immunity to bar institution of an IPR. 
Continue Reading Sovereign Immunity Protects State University Owned Patent from Inter Partes Review

Red seal and imprint "SANCTIONS" on white surface

On November 10, 2016, the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) hosted a panel discussion entitled Ethics in AIA Post-Grant Proceedings at the PTAB with the Honorable Thomas Giannetti, Lead Administrative Patent Judge of the PTAB.

The main topic of the discussion was guidance on motions for sanctions.  The rules relating to trial practice before the PTAB allow the Board to impose an appropriate sanction on any attorney, registered practitioner or party that violates the PTAB’s rules after the offending party has had an opportunity to respond.  35 C.F.R. §42.11(d)(1).  The Board has the authority to sanction parties or a party may file a motion for the Board to impose sanctions. 
Continue Reading Guidance on Requesting Motions for Sanctions

disclaimer printed on rubber stamp

The Patent and Trial Appeal Board invoked the doctrine of prosecution history disclaimer to construe the claims at issue narrowly for the inter partes review of U.S. Patent No. 5,884,033; and thus, concluding that the claims had not been shown to be unpatentable in light of prior art. The Board rejected the Petitioner’s additional arguments that the claims as construed were not adequately described in the specification. The Board noted that it was not proper for it to consider whether the claims as construed were valid under 35 U.S.C. §112, first paragraph.
Continue Reading No Written Description, No Problem when Prosecution History Disclaimer is Applied

US Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, VA.

On June 30, 2016, lead APJ Jacqueline Wright Bonilla provided a status report on Inter Partes Review/Post Grant Review in the Biotechnology and Chemical Technology Center 1600 during the Biotechnology/Chemical/Pharmaceutical Customer Partnership (BCP) Conference.  The statistics discussed during this BCP Conference are current as of May 31, 2016. 
Continue Reading Status Report on IPR Statistics for the Biotech/Pharma Technology Center

On June 30, 2016, lead APJ Jacqueline Wright Bonilla provided an overview of the new PTAB rules during the Biotechnology/Chemical/Pharmaceutical Customer Partnership (BCP) Conference.  The final rule on Amendments to the Rules of Practice for Trials Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, which we have previously discussed [April 21, 2016 and August 20, 2015] was published on April 1, 2016, and was later revised in a correction to the final rule on April 27, 2016.  APJ Bonilla commented on the new rules relating to the standard for claim construction, preliminary responses by the patent owner, including testimonial evidence, word count, Rule 11-type certification, and motions for sanctions. 
Continue Reading An Overview of Amendments to the PTAB Rules

The Board initially denied institution of Mylan Pharmaceuticals’ petition for inter partes review of U.S. Patent No. RE44,186, owned by AstraZeneca.  After a rare grant of Mylan’s request for rehearing, the Board reconsidered the record and decided to institute the IPR.  The decision to institute focused on the content of Mylan’s expert testimony; and although not mentioned in the decision, the replacement of one APJ in the PTAB panel for the decision on rehearing might have played a role in the grant of the request for rehearing and the decision to institute the IPR on rehearing even though both decisions were unanimous.
Continue Reading Rare Grant of Rehearing of Denial of Petition for Inter Partes Review