Teva v astrazeneca invalidating a patent with secret prior art
As the CAFC stated: "'Common sense' may only be applied when combining references that disclose all the required limitations.
Though less common, , a patent can be obvious in light of a single prior art reference if it would have been obvious to modify that reference to arrive at the patented invention." To be sufficiently obvious, the limitation in question has to be "unusually simple and the technology particularly straightforward.
With reference to the fact that some degree of uncertainty was associated with the statement, Teva’s damages were set discretionarily at DKK 100m.
(2015-1171), the CAFC once again demonstrated its lawless bias and caprice, reversing an appeals panel to reinstate the erroneous obviousness decision by the district court, finding for Apple against Samsung (no surprise there).
And make sure you talk to your patent counsel about any plans to license or sell technology prior to filing a patent application.
Patent law is the only law in the land where no evidence is required for condemnation.
Prior to the AIA, this would have been a clear win for Teva.
But, post-AIA, a Texas District Court ruled that the Helsinn patent was not invalidated by what would have historically been an on-sale bar.
If a patent application is on file before a secret or public sale, as consistent with current best practices, the Helsinn/Teva issues can be avoided.
Although the outcome of this case is important at the margins (e.g., maintaining secret sales as prior art makes it easier to invalidate patents) filing a patent application before any disclosure or commercialization is and remains the best practice.