This is GREAT news! The controversial Enola Patent is no more!! See the lead link for the PatentlyO write up. (UPDATE: There is now also information and comment both on the CIAT blog and the CIAT official release on CIAT’s main website.)
CAS-IP has been supporting CIAT in moving this process along since 2000, when John Dodds filed the original request for re-examination. CAS-IP had also assisted CIAT and pro bono lawyers from Morrison&Foerster with the drafting and presentation of an Amicus brief to the Court of Appeals.
Victoria Henson-Apollonio, manager of CAS-IP wrote the following note on the decision:
“On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) dealt a final blow to the patent claims of the Enola patent, U.S. Patent No. 5,894,079.
In its ruling the CAFC said:
“In a combined proceeding in which a third person sought re-examination of an issued patent and the patentee sought re-issue of the patent to broaden the claims, the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (“Board”) held the patent claims invalid on multiple grounds, including that they would have been obvious at the time the invention was made. We affirm the obviousness ruling and therefore sustain the Board’s decision without reaching the Board’s other grounds.”
Here is the pdf file from the CAFC’s Internet site http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/opinions/08-1492.pdf
With this decision, the Court has invalidated this patent. The patent owner, Pod-Ners LLC (Larry Proctor) can no longer sue buyers and sellers of yellow beans in the U.S. This is a victory for all genebanks that hold and distribute yellow beans, especially the genebank of the Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical/International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). CIAT holds and distributes germplasm from many crops, including beans, to subsistence farmers and those that work to help poor farmers, everywhere in the world.”
For more background information visit the CAS-IP site. We will be updating this page shortly.