Hoffmann & Baron LLP Partner Dr. Altmann Authors Law360 Article – Fed Circuit Cellect Ruling Triggers Significant Patent Risk

Curtis R. Altmann, Ph.D., J.D., Partner, Hoffmann & Baron, LLP, was the author of a Law360 article titled “Fed. Circ. Cellect Ruling Triggers Significant Patent Risk.”

In the In re Cellect decision (In re Cellect, 81 F.4th 1216 (Fed. Cir. 2023)), the Federal Circuit affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s decision that four patents owned by Cellect LLC were unpatentable under the doctrine of obvious-type double patenting (ODP). The decision, issued on August 28, 2023, marks a significant development in patent law, particularly concerning the use of later expiring patents to invalidate earlier ones.

Throughout the article, Dr. Altmann provides insight into the potential effects of this precedential decision on existing patent portfolios. To determine the impact on existing patents, Altmann developed a unique approach using the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Examination Data System’s Application Programming Interface.

The study focused on patent families listed in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Orange Book, representing high-value patents. The analysis revealed that approximately 6% of the Orange Book patents could be affected by the Cellect decision.

The research found 279 distinct patent groups that may have In re Cellect problems, suggesting a significant concern for patent holders. Businesses with large collections, especially in the pharmaceutical industry, may see severe effects. Examining patent family trees and priority claims revealed complications, leading to doubts about the legitimacy of certain patents.

Dr. Altmann highlighted the potential for competitors to trigger reexamination proceedings. He further emphasized the need for patent owners to carefully review and address the In re Cellect-related issues in their portfolios. Patent owners are advised to strategically consider filing terminal disclaimers to mitigate risks, emphasizing the importance of a careful claim review.

To read the article: PDF

Curtis R. Altmann, Ph.D., J.D., Partner, comes to Hoffmann & Baron, LLP from Arnold & Porter, LLP’s Washington, D.C. office, where he was Senior Counsel in the firm’s Intellectual Property practice. He received his law degree from American University Washington College of Law. In addition to his extensive patent law experience, Dr. Altmann has a deep technical background. He received his B.A. in Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to attending law school,  Dr. Altmann performed postdoctoral work at NYU School of Medicine and Rockefeller University. From 2002-2007 he served as an Assistant Professor at Florida State University College of Medicine, with emphasis on genomics and bioinformatics, eye development, vertebrate embryology, molecular biology, biochemistry, nanotechnology and plant genomics.