By Jorge A. Goldstein and Blake Coblentz
Jorge A. Goldstein is a Director and Blake Coblentz is an Associate at STERNE KESSLER GOLDSTEIN AND FOX, PLLC, the Washington DC firm who in 1988 took up and won the Wands case before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. This article reflects the present thoughts of the authors, and should not be attributed to Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox p.l.l.c. or any of its former, current, or future clients.
In re Wands1, the seminal decision on the enablement of biotechnology patents, celebrates its 20th birthday on September 30 of this year. In 1988, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in the Wands case outlined an eight factor analysis for determining whether the claims of a patent drawn to immunoassays using monoclonal antibodies were enabled. Since then the "eight Wands factors" have remained the standard for enablement not only for antibody patents, but for all biotechnology patents. The Wands decision has been, and continues being, cited as the cornerstone of any analysis of claim scope and breadth. One hundred and thirty four court and PTO decisions, 133 law review and periodical articles, 42 treatise citations and thousands of PTO Office Actions attest to the continued strength and validity of the Wands analysis.
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