Press Release May 11, 2018

Precedential Ruling for General Hospital Corporation in Federal Appeals Patent Case

Alston & Bird won a precedential ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on behalf of General Hospital Corporation and licensee Sebacia Inc., in which the court vacated a decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to dismiss a patent interference proceeding request by GHC against Sienna Biopharmaceuticals, Inc.

Calling the PTAB action “arbitrary and capricious,” the Federal Circuit remanded the interference proceeding for the PTAB to determine whether GHC or Sienna was the first to invent a hair removal method using nanoparticles covered by U.S. Patent No. 8,812,941.

In making its ruling, the Federal Circuit said that the PTAB abused its discretion when it denied GHC’s request to add a new claim to its patent interference request, writing: “The board’s determination that GHC failed to meet its burden to show that the [proposed new claim] is patentable was arbitrary and capricious.”

Patent interference proceedings are a unique U.S. Patent and Trademark Office procedure instituted to determine priority of invention and are a highly specialized administrative litigation.

Leading the matter for Alston & Bird is partner Philippe Bennett, assisted by counsel Walter Scott, both members of the firm’s Patent Litigation Group.

The case is General Hospital Corp. v. Sienna Biopharmaceuticals Inc., case number 17-1012, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
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