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Inherency and obviousness have long been separate invalidity inquiries. The Federal Circuit recently intimated in Allergan, Inc. v. Sandoz Inc., however, that this separation could soon be a thing of the past. In particular, the majority and dissenting opinions suggest that, at least in certain circumstances, “the inherency doctrine may apply to an otherwise obvious claim.” If inherency and obviousness become merged, particularly in the way that the Allergan dissent urged, there are several consequences that litigants should be mindful of when navigating anticipation and obviousness.

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