Patent Law 277W

Class Meeting Time:
TuTh 11:20 - 12:35 PM in Room 170

Robert P. Merges
438 Boalt Hall (North Addition)

Office Hours:
Tuesdays, 1:30 – 2:40 PM; or by appointment

Admin. Assistant:
Chris Swain, 793 Simon Tower (642‑0503)      

This course will cover the core concepts of U.S. patent law with special focus on the issues of patent reform that have been raised over the past few years. Using the perspective of an inventor or entrepreneur, we will examine how patents are used as a business tool to commercialize new technologies and innovations. We will also consider fundamental policy questions about the current patent system such as whether it favors big institutions over independent inventors or start-ups and whether it inhibits scientific research and access to medicines.                          

Required Reading:
Merges & Duffy, Patent Law & Policy (5th ed. 2011) (M&D)
Merges et al., IP in the New Technological Age, Case and Statutory Supplement (2011) (Stat. Supp.)

Syllabus PDF  

Date Materials; Statute; Problems 
Th 8/25
Historical Introduction M&D 1-13; Introduction to the patent document, pp. 13-26; Introduction to Claims & Patent System: M&D 26-66
Tu 8/30
Patentable Subject Matter: Stat. Supp. 35 USC § 101; In re Bilski, M&D 79-107
Th 9/1
101 (cont’d): Chakrabarty, Laws of Nature, etc.: M&D 67-79; Natural Substances, M&D 106-110; Association for Molecular Pathology (Myriad), Course website
Tu 9/6
Utility: Brana, M&D 234-243; Ex parte Fisher, M&D 244-256
Th 9/8
Enablement and Written Description: Intro and Incandescent Lamp, M&D 261-276; Janssen v. Teva, M&D, 287-296; Stat Supp. 35 USC § 112
Tu 9/13
Intro. and Gentry Gallery, M&D 302-312; Ariad v. Eli Lilly, M&D 316-336
Th 9/15
Definiteness and Best Mode: Orthokinetics, M&D 337-341; Notes on Standard Oil, Ambiguous Language, Functional Language and Functional Claiming, 341-350; Chemcast and Note, 358-365
Tu 9/20
Introduction to Novelty: Intro and Robertson, M&D 367-380; Stat. Supp. 35 USC § 102; In re Klopfenstein and Note, 415-422. Introduction to “First to File”: Basic Concepts and Prior Art Categories (material to be distributed)
Th 9/22
Novelty II, 102(e) and (f): Note on Novelty and the Economics of Search, M&D 427-431; §102(e): Alexander Milburn, 432-438; §102(f): Campbell, M&D 441-448
Tu 9/27
Priority, §102(g)(1) & (2): Intro., Brown v. Barbacid, M&D 448-465; Peeler and Notes on Abandoned, etc., M&D 465-472; Dow, 477-487; Note on Rule 131, 491-492; Stat. Supp. § 102(g)
Th 9/29
Statutory Bars I and Presumption of Validity: Intro, 517-519; 527-529; Egbert, Moleculon, Metallizing Engineering, M&D 530-544; i4i Ltd., book supp
Tu 10/4
On Sale Bar and Experimental Use: Pfaff, 544-558; City of Elizabeth, M&D 562-569; Lough, 569-577
Th 10/6
Third Party Activity: Baxter, WL Gore, M&D 577-591; International Considerations, 593-596; Summary & Problems, 596-600
Tu 10/11 **No Class**

Th 10/13 PPT

Nonobviousness: Intro, Hotchkiss, Historical Note, M&D 619-633; Graham, M&D 638-653 [stop reading Graham opinion before discussion of Cook case]; US v. Adams, 661-670
Tu 10/18 PPT Suggestion Test: Intro (“Subtests”) and  KSR v. Teleflex, M&D 670-692; Obviousness after KSR & In re Kubin, M&D 692-706
Th 10/20 PPT §102/103 Prior Art and Analogous Arts: Intro and Hazeltine, M&D 747-751; Note, Economic Rationale, M&D 760-761; Oddzon, M&D 761-767; Intro & Clay M&D 780-788
Tu 10/25 PPT Claims I: Intro and Merrill, M&D 797-804; Intro and Phillips, M&D 804-821; Note on Canons, 821-829
Th 10/27 PPT Claims II: Intro and Wright Co. v. Paulhan, M&D 829-834; Note on Purposive Claim Construction, 834-837; Intro and Markman, M&D 852-865
Tu 11/1
Claims III: Doctrine of Equivalents and Prosecution History Estoppel: Festo, M&D 871-888
Th 11/3 PPT Joint and Divided Infringement, BMC Resources v. Paymentech & Notes, M&D 847-852; updates from recent cases (to be supplied)

Tu 11/8

Indirect Infringement: Intro and CR Bard, M&D 914-915; M&D 923-931; GlobalTech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB, book supplement

Th 11/10

Injunctions: Intro, eBay, Notes, Additional Notes, M&D, 941-955;, 956-966
Tu 11/15
Damages: Lucent, M&D 966-986; Grain Processing, and Note M&D 1002-1017
Th 11/17
Willful Infringement, Reissue and Reexamination: In re Seagate Technology, M&D 1027-1037; Intro to Reissues and , M&D 1080-1081; Mentor Corp., M&D 1086-1088; Intro to Reexamination and Rodime and Notes, Note on Inter Partes Reexamination, M&D 1099-1107
Tu 11/22
Defenses: Prosecution Delay Laches and Inequitable Conduct: Symbol Technologies, M&D 1109-1112; 1137-1146; Therasense, book supp.
Th 11/24 ** No Class – Happy Thanksgiving **
Tu 11/29
Coinvention and Ownership: Burroughs-Wellcome; Ethicon,  M&D 1147-1155; 1169-1189; Stanford v. Roche, book supp.
Th 12/1 Review Session