PALO ALTO, CA - StemCells Inc. announced in a press release that the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has upheld the validity of the remaining two neural stem cell patents which were subjected to reexamination proceedings commenced by Neuralstem Inc.
The upheld patents are the subject of two related lawsuits initiated by StemCells against Neuralstem, which allege infringement of a total of six patents.
These six patents collectively claim the manufacture and use of human neural stem and progenitor cells as tools for drug discovery and as therapeutic agents.
The USPTO’s decision to uphold the two patents is final and cannot be appealed. Consequently, StemCells is asking the federal district court in Maryland to resume the infringement lawsuits against Neuralstem.
“The USPTO’s latest action is a reaffirmation of the validity of the patents asserted against Neuralstem. Each of our reexamined patents has now been twice tested and twice granted by the Patent Office,” President and CEO of StemCells Inc. Martin McGlynn said.
“We now look forward to our day in court. Litigation can be a slow and meticulous process, but we plan to ensure that those who wish to commercialize neural stem cells for drug discovery or therapeutic uses, recognize the validity and value of our patents,” he added.
The two most recently upheld patents are US Patent Number 6,294,346 and US Patent Number 7,101,709, which claim, respectively, methods for using neural stem and progenitor cells for the screening of drugs and biological agents.
In its latest communications, the USPTO has issued Notices of Intent to Issue Ex Parte Reexamination Certificates for both the ‘346 and ‘709 patents. During the reexamination proceedings, the Company submitted minor amendments to certain, but not all, of the claims.
With these notices of allowance, the USPTO has affirmed all of the previously issued claims, as amended, and so all of the reexaminations initiated by Neuralstem have been resolved to StemCells' satisfaction.
There are a total of 173 patent claims going forward from the six patents involved in the two suits against Neuralstem.
StemCells initiated its first lawsuit against Neuralstem in July 2006 in the federal court in Maryland, alleging that Neuralstem’s activities violate claims in four patents exclusively licensed to StemCells.
In late 2006, Neuralstem petitioned the USPTO to reexamine two of the patents in the case, namely US Patent No. 6,294,346 (claiming the use of human neural stem cells for drug screening) and US Patent No. 7,101,709 (claiming the use of human neural stem cells for screening biological agents).