Scalia Spotlights

CPIP Scholars Ask Federal Circuit To Protect Innovation In The Life Sciences

A group of scholars from the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP)—Chris Holman, David Lund, Adam Mossoff, and Kristen Osenga—filed an amicus brief in Natural Alternatives International v. Creative Compounds, a case currently on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The amici ask the appellate court to correct the district court’s misapplication of the patent-eligibility test under Section 101 of the Patent Act since it threatens innovation in the life sciences.

The plaintiff-patentee, Natural Alternatives International or NAI, provides nutritional products, including proprietary ingredients and customized nutritional supplements, to its clients. NAI owns several patents relating to beta-alanine, a non-essential amino acid that delays the onset of muscle fatigue. The district court held that the claims were ineligible subject matter under the two-step Alice-Mayo test: the claims were directed to a natural phenomenon and lacked an inventive concept containing more than conventional, routine activity. The amici point out that the district court’s overly-restricted view of patent-eligibility doctrine will dissuade the research and development of natural products that are beneficial for mankind.