Usefulness, or utility, is a statutory requirement for patentability. The
standard for utility is low. Utility is a necessary pre-condition for patentability. In order for a patent to be valid, the invention it purports to protect must be useful.
2017 FC 777 - The FC rejected Teva’s allegations that Pfizer's Canadian patent was obvious and lacked utility. The FC found that the POSITA would not have been able to predict the novel crystalline form taught by the patent, and that the subject-matter of the invention claimed in the patent was useful.
2017 FC 774 - The FC granted Pfizer's order pursuant to Section 6 of the PM(NOC) Regulations, prohibiting the Minister of Health from issuing a NOC to Apotex, with respect to a Canadian patent The FC found, on a balance of probabilities, that Apotex’s allegations of obviousness, inutility, non-infringement, overpromising, anticipation and double patenting were not justified.
2017 SCC 36 - The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the “promise doctrine” of Canadian patent law in favour of merely requiring a single use related to the nature of the subject-matter of the invention having a scintilla of utility.
Case No. UNCT/14/2 - An ICSID Tribunal dismissed Eli Lilly’s claim against Canada, which was brought in relation to two Canadian patents owned by Eli Lilly that had been invalidated for failing to provide the utility they promised.
2015 FC 108 - Patent drafters are required to provide adequate disclosure of an invention in patent applications to reduce the likelihood that the granted patent will be litigated and invalidated years down the road. This Federal Court (“FC”) decision dismissed an application for a prohibition order on the grounds of non-infringement and found the patent to be obvious and lacking in utility.
2015 FC 125 - The existing patent was invalid on the grounds of lack of utility for having made a promise of utility that could not be demonstrated nor soundly predicted, was anticipated by a previous patent of the applicant that claimed an overlapping dosage range, and was also therefore made obvious by the same previous patent.
PAB 1384 - If a pharmaceutical patent is construed to make a promise, then that promise must relate to how the invention will ultimately be used – not simply to the properties of the pharmaceutical itself.
Alcon Canada Inc v Cobalt Pharmaceuticals Company, 2014 FC 149 - The Court examined in detail a number of experiments disclosed in the patent that were said to establish the claimed utility, but the experiments did not demonstrate or soundly predict utility for the broad ranges of molecular weight and chemical concentration claimed.
Dow Chemical Co v NOVA Chemicals Corp, 2014 FC 844 - The Federal Court found that NOVA Chemicals infringed Canadian Patent No. 2,160,705, owned by The Dow Chemical Company, by NOVA’s use of its “SURPASS” polyethylene product. Allegations of invalidity for lack of utility, claims broader than any invention made or disclosed, anticipation, obviousness, double patenting, and insufficiency of the specification were unsuccessful.
Allergan Inc v Apotex Inc, 2014 FC 567 - In terms of claim construction, this case shows the tension between construing claims based solely on the wording of the claims versus peering beyond the wording of the claims to distill an underlying invention.