For those who practice in the area of enforcement of pharmaceutical patents (i.e., patents directed to compounds, compositions or methods for treatment or prevention of disease, or maintenance of health), 2005 and the first eight months of 2006 are proving to be among the worst in memory. Why? Because in the last 20 months, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has completely or partially invalidated or held unenforceable nearly every pharmaceutical patent it has reviewed — more than two dozen in all, with only one upheld.

If one assumes that the survival rate of pharmaceutical patents was higher in years past (which it was — as discussed below), then there are two logical inferences one might draw.

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