277W - Patent Law


Class Meeting Time:
TuTh 11:20 - 12:35 PM in Room 140

Robert P. Merges
438 Boalt Hall (North Addition)

Office Hours:
Tuesdays, 2:00 – 3:15 PM; or by appointment    

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 8/23
Historical Introduction M&D 1-13; Introduction to the patent document, pp. 13-26; Introduction to Claims & Patent System: M&D 26-66
Tu 8/28
Patentable Subject Matter: Stat. Supp. 35 USC § 101; In re Bilski, M&D 79-107
Th 8/30
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 9/4
Utility: Brana, M&D 234-243; Ex parte Fisher, M&D 244-256
Th 9/6
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 9/11
Intro. and Gentry Gallery, M&D 302-312; Ariad v. Eli Lilly, M&D 316-336
Th 9/20
Definiteness and Functional Claiming: Orthokinetics, M&D 337-341; Notes on Standard Oil, Ambiguous Language, Functional Language and Functional Claiming, 341-350.
Tu 9/25
Introduction to Novelty: Intro and Robertson, M&D 367-380; Stat. Supp. 35 USC § 102; In re Klopfenstein and Note, 415-422. Introduction to the AIA and “First to File”: Basic Concepts and Prior Art Categories, Book Supp., pp. 30-35.
Th 9/27
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; Note on the AIA Derivation Procedure, Book Supp., p. 43.
Tu 10/2
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 10/4
Statutory Bars I: Intro, 517-519; 527-529; Egbert, Moleculon, Metallizing Engineering, M&D 530-544; Pfaff, 544-558.
Tu 10/9
Experimental Use, AIA Grace Period: City of Elizabeth, M&D 562-569; Lough, 569-577; Book Supp., pp. 35-43.
Th 10/11
Third Party Activity: Baxter, WL Gore, M&D 577-591; International Considerations, 593-596; Summary & Problems, 596-600

Sat 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 10/16 PPT Suggestion Test: Intro (“Subtests”) and KSR v. Teleflex, M&D 670-692; Obviousness after KSR & In re Kubin, M&D 692-706.
Th 10/18 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; Note on Nonobviousness and the AIA, Book Supp., p. 44.
Th 10/25 PPT Claims I: Intro and Merrill, M&D 797-804; Intro and Phillips, M&D 804-821; Note on Canons, 821-829.
Tu 10/30 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.
Th 11/1
Indirect Infringement and Prior User Rights: Intro and CR Bard, M&D 914-915; M&D 923-931; Note on Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB, Inc., 131 S.Ct. 2060 (2011), Book Supp., p. 55; Note on the AIA’s Prior Commercial Use defense, Book Supp., p. 44.
Tu 11/6 PPT Injunctions: Intro, eBay, Notes, Additional Notes, M&D, 941-955; Amazon.com, 956-966.
Tu 11/8
 No Class

Tu 11/13

Damages: Lucent, M&D 966-986; Grain Processing, and Note M&D 1002-1017.
Th 11/15
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 11/20
Defenses: Prosecution Delay Laches and Inequitable Conduct: Symbol Technologies, M&D 1109-1112; 1137-1146; Therasense, Book Supp., p. 56.
Th 11/22
 No Class - Happy Thanksgiving!
Tu 11/27
Coinvention and Ownership: Burroughs-Wellcome; Ethicon, M&D 1147-1155; 1169-1189; Stanford v. Roche, book supp.
Th 11/29 Review Session