35 U.S.C. § 103 : US Code - Section 103: Conditions for patentability; non-obvious subject matter

      (a) A patent may not be obtained though the invention is not
    identically disclosed or described as set forth in section 102 of
    this title, if the differences between the subject matter sought to
    be patented and the prior art are such that the subject matter as a
    whole would have been obvious at the time the invention was made to
    a person having ordinary skill in the art to which said subject
    matter pertains. Patentability shall not be negatived by the manner
    in which the invention was made.
      (b)(1) Notwithstanding subsection (a), and upon timely election
    by the applicant for patent to proceed under this subsection, a
    biotechnological process using or resulting in a composition of
    matter that is novel under section 102 and nonobvious under
    subsection (a) of this section shall be considered nonobvious if - 
        (A) claims to the process and the composition of matter are
      contained in either the same application for patent or in
      separate applications having the same effective filing date; and
        (B) the composition of matter, and the process at the time it
      was invented, were owned by the same person or subject to an
      obligation of assignment to the same person.

      (2) A patent issued on a process under paragraph (1) - 
        (A) shall also contain the claims to the composition of matter
      used in or made by that process, or
        (B) shall, if such composition of matter is claimed in another
      patent, be set to expire on the same date as such other patent,
      notwithstanding section 154.

      (3) For purposes of paragraph (1), the term "biotechnological
    process" means - 
        (A) a process of genetically altering or otherwise inducing a
      single- or multi-celled organism to - 
          (i) express an exogenous nucleotide sequence,
          (ii) inhibit, eliminate, augment, or alter expression of an
        endogenous nucleotide sequence, or
          (iii) express a specific physiological characteristic not
        naturally associated with said organism;

        (B) cell fusion procedures yielding a cell line that expresses
      a specific protein, such as a monoclonal antibody; and
        (C) a method of using a product produced by a process defined
      by subparagraph (A) or (B), or a combination of subparagraphs (A)
      and (B).

      (c)(1) Subject matter developed by another person, which
    qualifies as prior art only under one or more of subsections (e),
    (f), and (g) of section 102 of this title, shall not preclude
    patentability under this section where the subject matter and the
    claimed invention were, at the time the claimed invention was made,
    owned by the same person or subject to an obligation of assignment
    to the same person.
      (2) For purposes of this subsection, subject matter developed by
    another person and a claimed invention shall be deemed to have been
    owned by the same person or subject to an obligation of assignment
    to the same person if - 
        (A) the claimed invention was made by or on behalf of parties
      to a joint research agreement that was in effect on or before the
      date the claimed invention was made;
        (B) the claimed invention was made as a result of activities
      undertaken within the scope of the joint research agreement; and
        (C) the application for patent for the claimed invention
      discloses or is amended to disclose the names of the parties to
      the joint research agreement.

      (3) For purposes of paragraph (2), the term "joint research
    agreement" means a written contract, grant, or cooperative
    agreement entered into by two or more persons or entities for the
    performance of experimental, developmental, or research work in the
    field of the claimed invention.