• Mar 15 2019
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  • Category: CAFC Updates

Natural Alternatives appeals a decision of the district court granting Creative Compounds’ motion for judgment on the pleadings that the asserted claims of various U.S. Patent relating to dietary supplements containing beta-alanine were directed to patent ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and lacked an inventive concept sufficient to render them patent eligible. In performing its eligibility analysis, the district court accepted Natural Alternatives’ proposed claim constructions and held that the claims are directed to natural laws. The CAFC separately looks at the method claims, the product claims, and the manufacturing claims.  The CAFC finds that the method claims at issue cover using a natural product in unnatural quantities to alter a patient’s natural state and to treat a patient with specific dosages and thus fall clearly within the scope of § 101. With respect to the product claims, the CAFC finds that they are directed to specific treatment formulations that incorporate natural products, but they have different characteristics and can be used in a manner that beta-alanine as it appears in nature cannot. In addition, Creative Compounds’ counsel acknowledged at oral argument, the record indicates that the claimed combination of glycine and beta-alanine could have synergistic effects allowing for outcomes that the individual components could not have and that, at a minimum, there are sufficient factual allegations to render judgment on the pleadings inappropriate allowing these product claims to survive a motion for judgment on the pleadings. The manufacturing claims are directed to the manufacture of a human dietary supplement that is not a product of nature. The Court does not see, therefore, how a claim to the manufacture of a non-natural supplement would be directed to the law of nature or natural product. In summary, because Creative Compounds has failed to demonstrate under Natural Alternatives’ proposed claim constructions that the claims are not patent eligible, the CAFC reverses and remands.

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