Copyright (c) 1997 University of Miami Law Review
University of Miami
CASENOTE: Eli Lilly & Co. v. American Cyanamid Co.: A "Patent Case" of Dangerous
Dicta in the Federal Circuit?
52 U. Miami L. Rev. 389
Nancy J. Flint *
Although today more law exists in statutory form rather than in common law, courts do not have clear-cut guidelines for interpreting statutes. Courts must, therefore, interpret statutes in light of the particular facts of each case, generally through consideration of legislative intent as evidenced by the purpose, text, and legislative history of the statute. This Note analyzes a recent Federal Circuit interpretation of a statute enacted to enhance protection for U.S. process patent holders. Unfortunately, that court's interpretation of the statute has returned a certain group of those patent holders to the position they held before enactment of the statute - with no protection against foreign infringers importing products made using U.S.-patented processes.
Analyzing the statute through several leading statutory interpretation techniques casts doubt on the Federal Circuit's decision to interpret the statute by examining its legislative history. Using this approach, the Court applied a test set forth in one committee report. This test is not uniformly applicable in the field of chemical processing, however, due to the nature of chemical reactions on various materials' physical and chemical properties. Additionally, it is unclear why the Federal Circuit examined the statute in such detail when it could have reached the same result under the facts of the case without interpreting vague statutory language.
II. Statutory Interpretation Guidelines
Although Congress is responsible for drafting and enacting legislation in the form of statutes and thus, has "the central responsibility for the statutory management of ...
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