Federal Circuit Reverses Judgment Against Otonomy Ear Treatment Patent

On August 1, 2018, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati secured a reversal of a judgment from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in a patent interference against biotechnology company Otonomy. The judgment arose from a patent interference between Otonomy and Auris Medical over competing claims to an otic treatment method. The PTAB had held all but one Auris claim unpatentable, but had held that Auris had invented the method before Otonomy.

The contested invention is directed to a less-invasive method of delivering antibiotics locally to the middle and inner ear. Auris claimed to have invented the method before Otonomy based on its disclosure of a different treatment method. The PTAB held that the Auris disclosure did not anticipate Otonomy's claims and that Auris had not disclosed the invention at issue until 2014, but inconsistently held that Auris had invented it first despite crediting Otonomy with an earlier filing date. On appeal, the court reversed the decision that Auris had invented first and affirmed that Otonomy's claims were not anticipated. Rather than simply remand for a new trial, the court directed the PTAB to enter judgment for Otonomy.

The WSGR team representing Otonomy in the matter included partner Mike Rosato, Of Counsel Richard Torczon, and associates Adam Burrowbridge and Tasha Thomas. WSGR partner Mike Hostetler and associate Frank Yang represent Otonomy in patent prosecution.