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Columbia Axel Patent

In February 2004, PUBPAT filed a request for reexamination of Columbia University's patent on cotransformation, a process for inserting foreign DNA into a host cell to produce certain proteins that is the basis for a wide range of pharmaceutical products, including Epogen for anemia, Activase for heart attacks and stroke, Avonex for multiple sclerosis and Recombinate for hemophilia. PUBPAT's requrest showed that the patent, issued in 2002, violates the restriction against multiple patenting because Columbia previously received three other patents for the same invention in the 80's and early 90's. The three previous patents expired in 2000; the new patent will not expire until 2019. The Patent Office granted PUBPAT's request in May 2004 and Columbia voluntarily waived any right to assert the patent in December 2004.

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