All Claims Rejected for Universitätsspital Basel US Patent Application Describing MDMA to Enhance Emotional Effects of Psychedelics

USPTO directly cites prior art included in Porta Sophia’s third-party preissuance submission in establishing application’s lack of novelty and non-obviousness

MADISON, WI USA (February 23, 2023) The Universitätsspital Basel has today received a non-final rejection from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for U.S. Pat. App. Ser. No. 17/238,088 entitled “MDMA TREATMENT TO ENHANCE ACUTE EMOTIONAL EFFECTS PROFILE OF LSD, PSILOCYBIN, OR OTHER PSYCHEDELICS”. On April 14, 2022, Porta Sophia filed a third-party preissuance submission that challenged the patentability of the application's claims on the grounds that the claims lack novelty and are obvious to someone skilled in the art.

Porta Sophia, a non-profit psychedelic prior art library, leverages the experience of legal and interdisciplinary academic scholars to promote an ethical psychedelic patenting landscape that preserves the integrity of the public domain. The organization curates and makes readily available relevant historical documentation for patent examiners, innovators, and the public alike to explore the scope of psychedelic technologies.

Patent application: MDMA to enhance a positive response to a psychedelic

The '088 application was filed on April 22, 2021 and claims priority to a provisional application filed on May 5, 2020. The application claims the administration of a psychedelic and an empathogen, which will enhance a positive response to the psychedelic, to an individual with a neuropsychological disorder. These claims include the coadministration of MDMA (an empathogen) to enhance a positive emotional response to LSD (a psychedelic) - a combination so common in both underground psychological research and recreational use that it has been given the colloquial term “candyflipping.”

In the USPTO's notice of non-final rejection, all 28 claims of the application are rejected. In the case of 22 claims, the examiner cited prior art presented in Porta Sophia's third-party preissuance submission as grounds for that action. Specifically mentioned was a peer reviewed scientific manuscript published in 1998 that suggests a synergistic interaction of MDMA and LSD in mice, and a 2015 publication describing underground psychedelic and empathogen assisted psychotherapy activities in Zurich. The curated references of both of these documents are available in the Porta Sophia psychedelic prior art library.

The Universitätsspital Basel previously obtained an issued patent (US Patent 11,364,211) covering similar subject matter. Under US patent law, Porta Sophia was unable to file a third-party preissuance submission against the application that led to US Patent 11,364,211 because the application was already under review prior to its publication. However, Porta Sophia's third-party preissuance submission against the '088 application was made prior to the issuance of US 11,364,211 and the USPTO notified Universitätsspital Basel about the submission well before US 11,364,211 issued. Patent applicants have a duty of candor and good faith before the USPTO to submit relevant prior art to the Patent Office prior to the issuance date of a patent. The Universitätsspital Basel allowed US 11,364,211 to issue without making the USPTO aware of the prior art provided by Porta Sophia.

Read the Porta Sophia third-party preissuance submission full claims chart and corresponding prior art

Third-party submissions of prior art

The America Invents Act allows third parties to submit prior art and concise descriptions of their relevance to the USPTO. Documents submitted may be considered in the examination of that patent application. In addition, these submissions have a broad impact because applicants have a duty to disclose the prior art submitted against a single patent application for other relevant patent applications filed by the applicant.

Porta Sophia tracks and analyzes psychedelic patent applications globally. If an application improperly claims innovation of something known in the public domain and meets the standards of Porta Sophia's third party intervention evaluation criteria, the team assembles evidence against these invalid claims and contests them directly to the relevant patent office through third-party interventions.

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About Porta Sophia

Porta Sophia, meaning doorway to wisdom, is a non-profit psychedelic prior art library created to support good patents in the field of psychedelics. Based in Madison, Wisconsin USA, Porta Sophia identifies scientific, historical and cultural prior art in common and uncommon spaces and brings it together in one simple search tool for innovators and patent reviewers. The organization's mission is to protect the public domain, stimulate innovation, and support good patents to assure psychedelic therapies can one day be available at scale to the people who need them.

Porta Sophia works to support equity in the psychedelic field. The organization facilitates community engagement through encouraging submissions of prior art from the public and organizing an interdisciplinary Archival Researcher Network (ARN) to ensure quality psychedelic prior art is readily available to patent applicants, examiners, and those interested in psychedelic research.

To learn more about Porta Sophia's patent and prior art workflow or get involved, visit