On using the CPLRG™

The Chisum Patent Law Reference Guide (CPLRG™) system facilitates the daunting research task of finding supportive authority in the body of United States patent case law.

Since 1982, one appellate court, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, issued more than 2,000 precedential decisions.  During that period, the United States Supreme Court issued fewer decisions on patent law but each one is of magnified importance.  Any one of those decisions could contain a ruling, or even just a sentence, that might influence resolution of a question concerning patent rights.  The process continues.  For example, the Federal Circuit issued about 90 precedential patent-related decisions in 2009.

The CPLRG™ system provides short descriptive abstracts on important decisions.  Each abstract contains the following:

  1. a list of the important issues addressed in the case,
  2. a description of the case,
  3. comments on the significance of the decision,
  4. a link to a pdf file of the full text of the decision and, in some instances, of the patent at issue in the case, and
  5. cross references to pertinent sections of two reference texts, the Chisum on Patents Treatise and the Chisum Patent Law Digest.

Cross referencing is central to the CPLRG™ system.  One often is alerted to an issue of patent law by one or more recent court decisions.  Numerous other related decisions on that issue and related issues typically exist dating back in time.  Those decisions are collected and discussed in the Digest and Treatise, both of which are comprehensive and lengthy. To facilitate access to the Digest and Treatise, CPLRG™ abstracts provide pointers to relevant Treatise and Digest sections.

The Digest consists of two works, the three-volume 25th Federal Circuit Anniversary edition, which covers 1982-2007, and the annual edition, which includes Supreme Court and en banc Federal Circuit decisions and decisions after 2007.  These works are available from Lexis on-line and in hard copy.

The Treatise is available from Lexis on-line and in a twenty-eight volume published version, which is updated five times per year.

The Treatise includes volumes reproducing the Digest abstracts in a more comprehensive form, entitled Federal Circuit Guide (currently volumes 11 to 17).  The Guide was completely revised in 2007.  More recent decisions are in the annual Digest.  Note that the Guide and both editions of the Digest use the same topical section numbers.  Thus, for example, the section collecting decisions on “Active Inducement” of patent infringement is Section 5115.30 in all three works.

The following is an example:


Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., 583 F.3d 1317, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 21166 (Fed. Cir. 2009) (DYK & Mayer; GAJARSA, dissenting) [4] janssenteva09252009 25 Sept. 2009

  1. MAJOR ISSUES: Utility; Enablement; Method of Treating Disease
  2. DESCRIPTION: A patent claimed a method of treating Alzheimer’s disease by administering the compound galanthamine. [4]  uspatno4663318 A district court correctly held the patent invalid for lack of enablement even though tests completed after the patent issued confirmed that galanthamine was an effective Alzheimer’s treatment. The patent set forth no actual test results, but it discussed prior art studies on galanthamine, described a good animal model for testing Alzheimer’s drugs, and stated as a hypothesis that galanthamine would be effective against Alzheimer’s disease. Nevertheless, the patent failed to set forth a credible utility.
  3. COMMENT: This decision is questionable in view of In re Brana, 51 F.3d 1560, 1568 (Fed. Cir. 1995).
  4. CROSS-REFERENCE: For a discussion of specific utility, see Chisum Patent Law Digest § 1420; Chisum on Patents § 4.02.

Thus, for the Janssen decision, CPLRG™0004 provides the major issues, a summary and a cautionary comment.  It guides the reader to the sections in the Digest and Treatise that discuss the key issue (specific utility).

The CPLRG™ system will provide abstracts for important decisions rendered after January 1, 2010.  As part of the process of developing the system, abstract entries for 14 decisions in 2008 and 2009 were generated (CPLRG™0001 to CPLRG™0014).  They are included in the system, but do not purport to cover important decisions before 2010.

Donald S. Chisum

May 2010

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