Attorneys of the Year: Jonathan Singer
Posted: 12:50 pm Mon, February 25, 2013
By Holly Dolezalek
Fish & Richardson
Jonathan Singer’s work this year rescued Mayo Clinic from a thorny intellectual property problem.
In 2004, Prometheus Laboratories sued Mayo Clinic, alleging that a test for Crohn’s disease that Mayo was about to market violated its patents. But in 2012, the Supreme Court held that those patents were actually invalid, because Singer successfully argued that what Prometheus claimed in them were actually “natural phenomena.”
“Patents are good, and mostly they stimulate research,” Singer said. “But on occasion they can have a chilling effect on research, and there was a Mayo researcher who stopped her work because of this suit.”
In another case, Singer appealed a ruling that would have deprived client Cephalon, Eurand, and Anesta AG of a key patent, successfully arguing that the district court judge had erred in ruling that the patent was obvious and therefore invalid.
“When you do a real-world analysis, as the Supreme Court teaches us to do, it was easy to show that a preeminent drug company had previously tried and failed to create a drug like [Amrix], making it not obvious,” he said.
Singer’s success preserved the Amrix market for Cephalon until 2024.
Singer started the Life Sciences practice at Fish & Richardson when he started there in 2000, and the practice now includes about 35 lawyers, 20 to 25 of whom work full-time on life sciences matters.
“It took awhile to build, but it’s successful now,” he said.
Singer loves his work in life sciences.
“I’ve worked in a lot of areas in intellectual property,” Singer explained, “but these products actually save lives.”