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May 4, 2003
The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Annual Meeting
"Recent Patent Law Developments in Experimental Use Exceptions"
Bill Warren discussed the patent law's long history of encouraging inventors to reduce their ideas to practice before submission of a patent application. This notion is counterbalanced by the policy of prompt patent filing and disclosure of the invention to the public, to avoid permitting inventors to first practice their invention for profit and then later seek a patent monopoly for an extended term. Not only is a so-called working model no longer required for filing a patent application, but the so-called experimental use exception from the public use bar to patentability has been substantially narrowed by the courts in recent years. On the patent infringement side of the equation, competition in the life sciences and pharmaceutical sectors has been expanded by the broadened experimental use exceptions to infringement where the activity is related to federal regulatory approval (i.e. FDA approval). However, most other experimental use exceptions to infringement have been severely limited by recent court decisions, notably affecting even the University setting. Bill discussed recent decisions clarifying the scope of permissible activities that with regard to experimental use exceptions to patentability and infringement. Visit http://www.arvo.org/root/index.asp for more details.