Supremes Open Up Drug Research

This U.S. Supreme Court patent decision today will be big news for those financing early-stage life sciences companies:

Merck v. Integra, 545 U. S. ___ (2005).
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court has set aside the Federal Circuit’s holding — finding that “the use of patented compounds in preclinical studies is protected [under 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(1)] as long as there is a reasonable basis for believing that the experiments will produce the types of information that are relevant” to FDA approval.

More broadly, the decision, which sets aside a prior Federal Circuit ruling, will come as no surprise to those who have read Lerner & Jaffe’s “Innovation and its Discontents”, where the authors convincingly argue that the patent specialists at the Federal Circuit have taken an overly patentholder-friendly view of intellectual property law.


  1. Paul Kerdrosky,
    You know, you could really help me out by throwing twenty thousand dollars my way unconditionally. You’re a good man–a reasonable man, right? Someone not at all reckless.
    Well, I’m sure a hand-out to some poor schmuck like me would help your reasonableness and fiscal conservatism shine.
    With fantastically incredible sincerity,
    – Steven
    New York, NY
    PS– My gmail address is “noethos.”
    PPS– I offer this poem, which I title “Entitled” and dedicate to you, as a return favor :-)
    new glasses a cold
    day how sharp is
    this life I pocket
    quivering hands and hunch
    forward a small death
    to the wind all vitality is here is now I close
    my eyes, see shapes they are
    real aren’t they