PUBPAT SCORES ANOTHER VICTORY: Columbia University Abandons Assertion of Challenged Cotransformation PatentNEW YORK -- December 1, 2004 -- The Public Patent Foundation ("PUBPAT") announced today that Columbia University has voluntarily abandoned assertion of its most recently acquired patent on cotransformation, a process that is the basis for a wide range of pharmaceutical products, including Epogen® for anemia, Activase® for heart attacks and stroke, Avonex® for multiple sclerosis, and Recombinate® for hemophilia. PUBPAT challenged the patent in February by filing a request for reexamination with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which granted the request in May.
The patent was not only the subject of PUBPAT's reexamination request, but was also involved in several lawsuits throughout the country. In those cases, although not expressly conceding that the patent was invalid, Columbia University recently waived any right to assert the patent or any similar patent at any time.
"Patents like this that undeservingly restrict the public's right to use critical technology are issued far too routinely, giving private parties unearned control over important scientific advances and crippling those who would otherwise benefit from using such technology," said Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT's Executive Director. "Getting Columbia University to abandon assertion of the patent is a total victory for PUBPAT and for the public that has been harmed by the unjust issuance of this patent."
Cotransformation is a widely used biotechnology process for inserting foreign DNA into a host cell to produce certain proteins. More information about the challenged cotransformation patent, including a copy of PUBPAT's Request for Reexamination, the Patent Office's Order Granting the request, and Columbia University's Covenant Not to Sue, can be found at PUBPAT > Columbia Cotransformation Patent.