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Drafters beware! Insufficient description results in $1.2 billion damage reversal

On 26 August 2021, a U.S. appeals court reversed a $1.2 billion ruling against the defendant Gilead Sciences after finding that the plaintiff’s patent was invalid because it lacked sufficient descriptions and details, in a blow to the plaintiff’s corporate owner, Bristol Myers.

The dispute arose from a cancer treatment patent. The treatment known as chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, or CAR-T, reprograms the body’s own immune cells to recognize and attack malignant cells.

Bristol Myers claimed infringement against Gilead Sciences based on a patent owned by its subsidiary Juno and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (“Juno Patent”). A jury in 2019 found infringement against Gilead Sciences and the District judge awarded $1.2 billion in damages.

However, a three-judge panel reversed the previous decision unanimously and held that the Juno Patent was invalid because it lacked a sufficient written description and details. In oral argument, Judge Moore compared the Juno Patent’s description to trying to identify a specific car by saying it has four wheels.

For more details on the decision, read here.

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