A Medical Device Daily

Artes Medical (San Diego, California), a specialty medical device and pharmaceutical company, reported that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted its request for reexamination of the patent held by Aventis (Strasbourg, France) covering injectable skin fillers using poly-lactic-acid microspheres, marketed in the U.S. under the Sculptra trademark and in Europe as New-Fill.

In granting the request, the USPTO agreed with Artes that there is, the company said, “a substantial question“ of whether the matter claimed in Aventis' patent No. 6,716,251, issued in April 2004, was actually patentable, “especially in view of Artes's own patent that was issued nearly 10 years earlier covering injectable microspheres for soft tissue augmentation made from either polymeric or non-polymeric materials.“

The reexamination request cited an additional seven scientific articles and/or patent documents, all of which the USPTO agreed raised at least 12 new issues that question the novelty of the Aventis technology and question the validity of the corresponding Aventis patent, Artes said.

Artes is focused on the facial aesthetics market. The company's lead product, ArteFill, is a combination of precision-filtered synthetic microspheres suspended in Ultra-Purified Collagen. After ArteFill is injected, the microscopic spheres stimulate the body's own natural collagen production to replace the purified collagen.

In other legalities, Advanced Cell Technology (ACT; Worcester, Massachusetts) reported its intent to appeal the decision of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interference (interference number 104,746) between itself and Geron (Menlo Park, California) to the U.S. District Court.

“This interference relates to patent claims for non-human animal cloning and therefore does not relate to our core product focus,“ said William Caldwell, CEO of ACT. “However, we have numerous commercial partners utilizing ACT's patented animal cloning technology and we intend to defend the patents vigorously.“

ACT is disputing Geron's claim that ACT's patent at issue in the interference has been invalidated.

“It has always been clear to us that the animal cloning patent licensed to Geron from the Roslin Institute [Edinburgh, Scotland] and that are licensed to ACT from the University of Massachusetts [Cambridge] describe distinct technologies and that the patent claims do not interfere,“ said Michael West, ACT president and chief scientific officer. “We believe that the original decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to issue this patent was the correct one and that the patent will remain valid as a result of the appeal process.“

ACT is focused on advances in stem cell technology for regenerative medicine.

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