Decision From D. Del. Affirmed By Federal Circuit

Syngenta brought a suit in the District of Delaware alleging that Monsanto infringed three of its patents relating to genetically-modified corn. The district court held two of the patents not infringed as a matter of law. As to the third patent, a jury found the asserted claims infringed but invalid as obvious and lacking an adequate written description. On appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed Judge Robinson’s finding of noninfringement of two patents and affirmed the jury’s decision finding the third patent obviousness. The appeals court did not reach the issue of the written description’s adequacy because they affirmed the jury’s verdict on obviousness grounds.

Although this is a post-KSR decision involving obviousness, the appeals court did not address the teaching/suggestion/motivation test at issue in KSR. Instead, the court found that jury’s verdict was supported by substantial evidence without discussing the proper obviousness test. As to Judge Robinson’s finding of noninfringement of two of the patents in suit, the appeals court held that Syngenta had waived the theory of claim construction argued to the Federal Circuit by not raising that same construction at the trial court level. Op. at 11.

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