When Is A Pharmaceutical Invention Obvious?

The monopoly provided by patent protection for a pharmaceutical drives the price a drug manufacturer can charge for the pharmaceutical. In April of 2007 the Supreme Court decided KSR v. Teleflex, 127 S. Ct. 1727, 1739 (2007), in which the Supreme Court distinctly decreased the standard as to whether the prior art invalidates a patent for obviousness. This decision, across the board, decreased the value of existing patents and pending applications because it became harder to show that a patent or pending application extended that which was already publicly known. The technology at issue in KSR had to do with adjustable height gas pedals. Because facts often control how a court views the obviousness of an invention, the pharmaceutical industry awaited cases applying the new KSR standard having to do with small molecules and related inventions.

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