Posted On: April 17, 2013 by Samantha G. Wilson

Judge Robinson construes claims, denies motions for summary judgment on infringement and invalidity, and denies plaintiff’s Daubert motion

In a recent Memorandum Opinion, Judge Sue L. Robinson construed several claim terms, denied both parties’ motions for summary judgment, and denied plaintiff’s motion to exclude defendant’s expert’s testimony on invalidity. Cellectis S.A. v. Precision Biosciences, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 11-173-SLR (D. Del. Apr. 9, 2013).

The Court first construed the following terms:

-“[M]onomer of an 1-Crel meganuclease variant comprising at least one mutation in the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 70, wherein said at least one mutation comprises a substitution at one or more of the amino acids residues at positions 44, 68 and 70 and said monomer further comprises at least one additional mutation of an amino acid residue directly contacting a DNA target sequence wherein said amino acid residue directly contacting a DNA target sequence is selected from the group consisting of positions 26, 28, 30, 32,33 and 38 modified DNA cleavage specificity relative to the 1-Crel meganuclease of SEQ ID NO: 70 in at least one nucleotide in the +/- 3 to 5 triplets.” Id. at 4. The Court “decline[d] to construe the first phrase of [this independent claim] without the context of the remainder of the claim. Id.

-“[M]odified DNA cleavage specificity relative to the 1-Crel meganuclease of SEQ ID NO: 70 in at least one nucleotide in the +/- 3 to 5 triplets.” Id. at 7.

-“A single-chain chimeric meganuclease comprising [a] fusion of [two monomers].” Id. at 7-8.

-“[V]ariant of the wild-type monomer from 1-Crel.” Id. at 8-9.

The Court then denied the parties’ motions for summary judgment as to literal infringement and as to no invalidity for anticipation. The parties’ experts disputed the “proper characterization of [defendant’s product]” and thus raised genuine issues of material fact as to literal infringement. Id. at 16. The Court also held that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether a piece of prior art “expressly disclose[d] all of the claim limitations and whether the specific substitutions [of the patent-in-suit] would be apparent to one of skill in the art.” Id. at 19.

Finally, the Court denied plaintiff’s Daubert motion to exclude defendant’s expert testimony on best mode and obviousness. Plaintiff argued that the expert’s opinions on best mode made improper inferences based on a limited amount of information, but the Court held that the opinions were “not unreliable or unhelpful, when measured by the relatively low standard at this stage of the proceedings, coupled with the highly subjective nature of the state of mind inquiry” involved in best mode analysis. Id. at 21. As to obviousness, plaintiff argued that the expert’s testimony, which included “his opinions on secondary considerations and motivation to combine and claim charts illustrating his findings,” was too conclusory, but the Court concluded that "[w]hile [plaintiff] may disagree with [this expert’s] analysis and conclusions . . . at most, this goes to the weight of the evidence, which is properly addressed via cross-examination.” Id. at 22.

Cellectis S.A. v. Precision Biosciences, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 11-173-SLR (D. Del. Apr. 9, 2013)