Negative Claim Leads to “Udder” Failure

Judge Rich gave us the adage, “the name of the game is the claim.” Given the number of cases issued by the Federal Circuit on written description, perhaps the adage should be revised as “the name of the game is the claim – supported by the specification.” In In Re Bimeda Research & Development Ltd., the Federal Circuit issued another decision requiring the entire scope of the claims to be supported by the disclosure. While this is nothing new in patent law, the claim at issue is a negative claim that expressly excluded an element. The original claim was directed to a prophylactic method to treat infections in cow mammary glands by providing a physical barrier to the teat canal.