Biotech Supports Patent Standard | March 28, 2011 Issue - Vol. 89 Issue 13 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 89 Issue 13 | p. 31 | Concentrates
Issue Date: March 28, 2011

Biotech Supports Patent Standard

Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: biotechnology, patents

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), an industry trade group, is urging the Supreme Court to uphold the current legal standard for determining how much certainty a jury or judge must have before finding that a patent is invalid in infringement cases. Historically, the law has required “clear and convincing evidence” before a patent issued by the Patent & Trademark Office can be declared invalid. But in the case before the high court, Microsoft contends that the standard for invalidating patents is too high. The company is asking the justices to adopt a lower burden of proof, under which patents could be found invalid by a “preponderance of the evidence.” Under the current standard, BIO notes in its brief, patents benefit from a presumption of validity that cannot be easily overcome. “In this way, patents play their intended role as enduring legal instruments that confer real rights,” the group says. In a separate brief, the Obama Administration also argues against changing the current standard of patent validity, saying the experts at the patent office should not be second-guessed by a jury. Oral arguments in the case, Microsoft v. i4i, are scheduled for April 18.

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