The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) ruled in a precedential decision Wednesday that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) was correct to affirm a United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) examiner’s finding that the claims of U.S. Patent Application 15/131,442 were obvious in view of the prior art. The patent application was filed by John Couvaras and covers a method of reducing high blood pressure. The examiner rejected the claims as “not patentable because they naturally flowed from the claimed administration of the known antihypertensive agents,” specifically, a GABA-a agonist and an Angiotensin II Receptor Blocker (ARB). Couvaras conceded during prosecution that Couvaras that GABA-a agonists and ARBs “have been known as essential hypertension treatments for many, many decades” but appealed to the PTAB on the ground that the prostacyclin—a naturally occurring compound in the body that acts as an anticoagulant and vasodilator—increase was unexpected. Couvaras also argued that objective indicia overcame any existing prima facie case of obviousness.
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