Court Ruling Limits Patent Protection For Complex Products

The nation’s top patent court recently issued a decision that limits patent protection for complex products whose structures cannot be described. Drug formulations, biological molecules, cells and organisms are examples of types of inventions that are affected. In the new decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit resolved a conflict dating from the early 1990s in the interpretation of patent claims for such complex products. The practical effect of the decision is to limit patent protection for complex products. The decision affects existing patent claims and may encourage inventors to delay disclosure of new, complex inventions until they determine sufficient structural characteristics.

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