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Supreme Court Puts Tools in Turmoil

Executive Summary

In a blow for tool companies and a boost for drug developers, the Supreme Court in June held that drug companies could--in specific circumstances--use tool patents without paying for them. The problem: no one knows just how much protection the ruling affords. Even drug-developing biotechs, who now get a freer hand with other companies' tools, aren't universally happy with the ruling.

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In RNAi, Technology Proliferates Beyond the Big Two

If 2006 was a breakout year for RNAi the concept, then 2007 could be a breakout year for RNAi drug development itself. In the past few years there has been a surge of newcomers to the space, in some cases sporting high-quality venture backers and boldfaced names in RNAi. Some companies have decided to play ball with the industry leaders, sublicensing Alnylam's IP around their chosen targets, for example; others have filed their own IP-either outside the Alnylam and Merck umbrellas or putting them on a relatively slow-motion collision course with the two power brokers; still others have argued that patenting novel delivery technologies will provide them with the necessary edge in licensing negotiations, should they come about, or with pharmaceutical partners.

The Changing IP Landscape: Biopharma is the Battleground for Supreme Court Patent Assault

The Supreme Court previously took a hands-off approach to IP cases, often going whole terms without deciding matters in this area, but that era appears to be coming to an end. The current justices have shown a renewed interest in patents, handing down one or more major decisions in each of the past few years. The life science industry will not only be affected by this shift; it is largely the means through which the Supreme Court is engineering this change in direction, particularly in the biopharma industry.

The Changing IP Landscape: Biopharma is the Battleground for Supreme Court Patent Assault

The Supreme Court previously took a hands-off approach to IP cases, often going whole terms without deciding matters in this area, but that era appears to be coming to an end. The current justices have shown a renewed interest in patents, handing down one or more major decisions in each of the past few years. The life science industry will not only be affected by this shift; it is largely the means through which the Supreme Court is engineering this change in direction, particularly in the biopharma industry.

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