Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., or Myriad, a case involving patent claims held by Myriad Genetics, Inc. relating to the breast cancer susceptibility genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. Myriad held that an isolated segment of naturally occurring DNA, such as the DNA constituting the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, is not patent eligible subject matter, but that complementary DNA may be patent eligible.
The USPTO issued a guidance memorandum to patent examiners entitled 2014 Procedure For Subject Matter Eligibility Analysis Of Claims Reciting Or Involving Laws Of Nature/Natural Principles, Natural Phenomena, And/Or Natural Products. These guidelines instruct USPTO examiners on the ramifications of the Prometheus and Myriad rulings and apply the Myriad ruling to natural products and principles including all naturally occurring nucleic acids. Certain claims of our licensed patents and patent applications contain claims that relate to specific recombinant DNA sequences that are naturally occurring at least in part and, therefore, could be the subject of future challenges made by third parties. In addition, the recent USPTO guidance could impact our ability to pursue similar patent claims in patent applications we may prosecute in the future.
We cannot assure you that our efforts to seek patent protection for our technology and product candidate(s) will not be negatively impacted by the decisions described above, rulings in other cases or changes in guidance or procedures issued by the USPTO. We cannot fully predict what impact the Supreme Court’s decisions in Prometheus and Myriad may have on the ability of life science companies to obtain or enforce patents relating to their products and technologies in the future. These decisions, the guidance issued by the USPTO and rulings in other cases or changes in USPTO guidance or procedures could have a material adverse effect on our existing patent portfolio and our ability to protect and enforce our intellectual property in the future.
Moreover, although the Supreme Court held in Myriad that isolated segments of naturally occurring DNA are not patent‑eligible subject matter, certain third parties could allege that activities that we may undertake infringe other gene‑related patent claims, and we may deem it necessary to defend ourselves against these claims by asserting non‑infringement and/or invalidity positions, or paying to obtain a license to these claims. In any of the foregoing or in other situations involving third‑party intellectual property rights, if we are unsuccessful in defending against claims of patent infringement, we could be forced to pay damages or be subjected to an injunction that would prevent us from utilizing the patented subject matter. Such outcomes could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects.
If we do not obtain patent term extension for AVXS‑101, our business may be materially harmed.
Depending upon the timing, duration and specifics of any FDA marketing approval of AVXS‑101, one or more U.S. patents that we license or may own in the future may be eligible for limited patent term extension under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, or the Hatch‑Waxman Amendments. The Hatch‑Waxman Amendments permit a patent extension term of up to five years as compensation for patent term lost during the FDA regulatory review process based on the first regulatory approval for a particular drug or biologic. A patent term extension cannot extend the remaining term of a patent beyond a total of 14 years from the date of product approval, only one patent may be extended and only those claims covering the approved drug, a method for using it or a method for manufacturing it may be extended. However, we may not be granted an extension because of, for example, failing to exercise due diligence during the testing phase or regulatory review process, failing to apply within applicable deadlines, failing to apply prior to expiration of relevant patents or otherwise failing to satisfy applicable requirements. Moreover, the applicable time period or the scope of patent protection afforded could be less than we request. In addition, to the extent we wish to pursue patent term extension based on a patent that we in‑license from a third party, we would need the cooperation of that third party. If we are unable to obtain patent term extension or the term of any such extension is less than we request, our competitors may be able to enter the market sooner, and our revenue could be reduced, possibly materially.
If our trademarks and trade names are not adequately protected, then we may not be able to build name recognition in our markets of interest and our business may be adversely affected.
We have registered trademark applications with the USPTO for the mark and logo “AveXis.” We also have a pending trademark application with the USPTO for the mark “AVXS‑101,” approval of which is not guaranteed. Once