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An Analysis of Federal Circuit Discrimination: The Evolution of the Written Description Requirement Vis-a-Vis DNA and Biotechnological Inventions Concerns for Synthetic Biology

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The Federal Circuit uses particular patent doctrines as policy levers to control the nature of the nation's patent output. To this end, the Court will actively discriminate in it's application of the Patent Act, depending on the nature of the technology before it. One example of such a lever is the written description doctrine. Most recently, the court has looked to this doctrine in an effort to limit the scope of biotechnology patents in general and DNA patents in particular. This paper provides a cursory review of this law regarding the enigmatic written description requirement, examining particularly its history and purposes. It then examines some of the recent cases that allude to the Federal Circuit's particular efforts in the biotechnology industry. Finally, it presents a potentially problematic technology for future implementation of discriminatory practices by the court.

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Keywords: Chimeric DNA; DNA; Federal Circuit; Patent Act; federal circuit; patent doctrines; patents; policy levers; public choice theory; rational choice theory; synthetic biology; written description

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-12-01

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  • Recent Patents on DNA and Gene Sequences publishes review articles by experts on recent patents on DNA and gene sequences. A selection of important and recent patents in the field is also included in the journal. The journal is essential reading for all researchers involved in applied molecular biology.
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