The Supreme Court has declined to review a federal appeals court’s decision on a University patent involving the discovery of a separate cox-2 gene and related biological processes.
The University had petitioned the Court to hear the case after a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court, in February, upheld a lower court ruling that declared the University’s patent invalid on the grounds that it did not provide sufficient information to meet what the court described as a “written description” requirement. In July, the federal appeals court had denied, on a 7 to 5 vote, a request by the University for a hearing by the full panel of judges.
“We are, of course, very disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision,” said President Thomas H. Jackson. “The lower court decision invalidating the University’s patent represents a fundamental shift in patent law, changing the balance between protection of basic research and protection of commercial products. The decision was detrimental not just to us, but to research initiatives at universities and innovative companies that concentrate on early stage research.”
While the fact was uncontested that the University’s discovery of a gene and biological process enabled companies to create new drugs, the federal appeals court in effect imposed a second hurdle for such patents by saying that the Rochester patent was invalid because it did not include the precise chemical formula for such a compound.
The University is not anticipating any further legal steps at this time, Jackson said.Note to Editors: More detail on the Cox-2 case can be found at www.rochester.edu/news/cox-2.