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Posts Tagged: "Alice-Mayo Framework"

Alice Insanity (Part Two): How the Dunning-Kruger Effect Influences the Outcome of Federal Circuit Decisions

The Dunning-Kruger effect is often defined as a type of cognitive bias whereby people are prone to vastly misjudge their competence. For example, smart and capable people tend to evaluate their skills and competence downward. That is, they tend to not just understand, but deeply internalize the idea that there’s a lot in life that they don’t understand. Circa 500BC, Confucius coined this wisdom stating, “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” Then there’s the flip side, where low ability and/or low knowledge people overestimate their own capabilities while simultaneously being unable to recognize their own incompetence. One-hundred and thirty years (give or take) before David Dunning and Justin Kruger conducted their studies on the issue, Charles Darwin described this effect, stating, “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”

Alice-Insanity (Part One), or Why the Alice-Mayo Test Violates Due Process of Law

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees, inter alia, that no person shall be deprived of property (including intellectual property), without due process of law. For instance, it is settled law that a federal statute may be so arbitrary and capricious as to violate due process. Similarly, it is settled that an administrative agency, e.g., the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), cannot escape the due process of law requirement when processing patent applications. In theory (less in reality), due process of the law extends to judicial as well as political branches of government, and judgments that violate constitutional limitations and guarantees are void or voidable.

Tillis, Michel, and Kappos File Amici Curiae in American Axle at Supreme Court

On Monday,, March 2, an Amici Curiae Brief in Support of the Petition by American Axle was filed by Senator Thom Tillis, Honorable Paul Michel and Honorable David Kappos. The three amici conclude that they are “all convinced that section 101 is gravely damaging our country’s ability to succeed in the race for global innovation leadership, and all convinced that the solution to the dilemma lies with the Court taking up the American Axle case.”

Athena Tells SCOTUS That Mayo’s Key Argument “Collapses” Under Federal Circuit Split

Athena Diagnostics today filed its reply brief to Mayo Collaborative Services at the Supreme Court in the closely-watched petition asking the High Court to clarify U.S. patent eligibility law. The reply reiterates the points made in Athena’s petition for certiorari and dismisses Mayo’s argument in November that “any further action regarding the patentability of medical diagnostic claims such as Athena’s that employ conventional, known techniques should and does rest with Congress.” The reply comes three days after the United States Solicitor General recommended that SCOTUS grant cert in Athena or “another such case”, rather than in Hikma Pharmaceuticals v. Vanda Pharmaceuticals.

Note to the Federal Circuit: Spewing Illogical Nonsense Does Not Make It True

The Federal Circuit recently reversed the District of Minnesota’s denial of summary judgment in Solutran, Inc. v. Elavon, Inc., Nos. 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 22516 (Fed. Cir. July 30, 2019) (Before Chen, Hughes, and Stoll, Circuit Judges) (Opinion for the Court, Chen, Circuit Judge), holding that the claims at issue, which related to processing paper checks, were invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The physicality of the limitations of the claims did not save the claims. See Physicality of Processing Paper Checks Does Not Save Solutran’s Claims. “[W]e have previously explained that merely reciting an abstract idea by itself in a claim—even if the idea is novel and non-obvious—is not enough to save it from ineligibility,” Judge Raymond Chen of the Federal Circuit explained for the majority. The Federal Circuit can state that proposition until every single judge is blue in the face and there will be one exhausting, inescapable truth—it is wrong! Indeed, this logical impossibility is written into so many Federal Circuit decisions one must wonder how it is possible any of the judges who believe this nonsense were ever able to achieve an acceptable score on the LSAT in order to gain admission to law school in the first place.

Athena v. Mayo: A Splintered Federal Circuit Invites Supreme Court or Congress to Step Up On 101 Chaos

On July 3, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied en banc rehearing in Athena Diagnostics v. Mayo Collaborative Services. The 86-page order from the Federal Circuit includes eight separate opinions—four concurring with the en banc denial and another four dissenting from the decision. The separate opinions reflect a Federal Circuit that isn’t divided so much on the issue of the importance of Athena’s now invalidated patent claims but, rather, the application of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Section 101 jurisprudence under Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories (2012). Throughout the opinions, it seemed clear that the Federal Circuit was eager to have the Supreme Court take this case up on appeal in order to clarify Mayo’s judicial exception to laws of nature and its impact on patent claims covering medical diagnostics.

Why the Federal Circuit is to Blame for the 101 Crisis

When the Supreme Court believes that the Federal Circuit has made an error, they will reverse and remand with broad guidance, but often are not able to determine what the proper test should be. The Supreme Court wants, and expects, the Federal Circuit to determine the proper test because, after all, it is the Federal Circuit that is charged with being America’s chief patent court. But the Federal Circuit has become myopic. It is getting tiring to read in case after case— where real innovation is involved—the Federal Circuit saying that they are constrained, even forced by either Alice or Mayo, to find the very real innovation to be declared patent ineligible. This madness has to stop! It is time for the judges of the Federal Circuit to stand up and fulfill their Constitutional Oaths. They must interpret Supreme Court precedent—all of it—consistent with the statute and the Constitution.

As the Climate for U.S. Patents Turns Brighter, Now is the Right Time to Invest in These Assets

The cost of obtaining a U.S. patent has not significantly changed for the past 10 years. This remarkable stability is confirmed by the AIPLA Economic Survey, our own fees, and our general knowledge of the market. The major costs for obtaining a U.S. patent include the drafting fee, the cost of responding to USPTO office actions and the USPTO fees. The first two fees have not increased in over 10 years for many firms and the government fees have increased but remain relatively low compared to the other fees. With respect to the price of issued patents, the 2018 IAM Benchmarking Survey points to a bear market for U.S. patents, which are “cheaper” year after year. A fall in prices is reported, with 24% of corporate respondents stating that patents are cheaper than a year ago; the previous year’s survey had 36% reporting a fall in prices. Such relatively stable cost and low price are disharmonious with the fact that a U.S. patent covers the largest market in the world—and a growing market. Despite a slight dip in 2009, the U.S. GDP has grown steadily for the past 20 years. Even if the recent volatility in the stock market is a sign of a difficult 2019, the long-term positive trend is likely to continue.

A New Court and a New Fix for Alice and Patent Eligibility under Section 101

In Henry Schein, Inc. v. Archer & White Sales, Inc., Case No. 17-1272, Justice Brett Kavanaugh authored an opinion applying a statutory construction principle to the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) that may foreshadow how the new Court, applying the same principle, will dramatically reshape how federal courts must approach patent eligible subject matter challenges by eliminating the judicial exceptions—abstract ideas, laws of nature and natural phenomenon—and thus moot the debate that has followed (and preceded) the Court’s Alice decision. Does Henry Schein, reflecting a unanimous Court’s interpretation of a statute, reflect a shift to now interpreting statutes such that exceptions not found in the text cannot be applied? Certainly, such an argument can be made that the three judicial exceptions to patent eligibility, which courts at all levels throughout the land have struggled over since their inception and which nowhere appear in the text of the Patent Act, could be found, unanimously, inapplicable at the Court’s next review of the issue.

Revised Patent Eligibility Guidance Effectively Defines What is an Abstract Idea

In essence, by narrowly identifying certain subject matter groups as being those that properly qualify for characterization as abstract ideas the USPTO is effectively defining what is and what is not an abstract idea, thereby filling a void intentionally left ambiguous by both the Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit. It has been frustrating — to say the least — that courts have refused to define the term abstract idea despite that being the critical term in the Supreme Court’s extra-statutory patent eligibility test. Without a definition for the term abstract idea rulings have been nothing short of subjective; some would even say arbitrary and capricious.

American Innovation at Risk: The New Congress Must Clarify Which Inventions Are Eligible for Patents

The U.S. Supreme Court has muddied the waters about patent eligibility in a way that threatens American innovation.  Capitol Hill is beginning to discuss this as a possible legislative issue for 2019.  Some would say it is as important as the intellectual property disputes in the tariff war with China… Intellectual property legislation traditionally is nonpartisan, which may make it a little easier to find a solution.  All members of Congress will support preserving the patent system’s incentives for innovation if they understand what is at stake for the country.

Iancu Proposes Overcoming 101 ‘Morass’ by Strictly Following Supreme Court Precedent

Director Iancu’s remarks gave a first look at what his reforms will look like, and by all indications these changes will be extremely innovator friendly… What has made the quartet of patent eligibility cases so devastating is how they have been stretched and pulled, twisted and manipulated to invalidate (and prevent) patent claims on innovations of entirely different magnitudes than those contemplated by the Supreme Court. Director Iancu understands that what the Supreme Court has actually said is quite limited. Director Iancu proposes that the USPTO strictly follow the Supreme Court, and nothing more.

Why isn’t Congress Upset about Judicial Exceptions to Patent Eligibility?

Some courts have characterized this final inquiry as “the hunt for the inventive concept.” That would make some logical sense if and only if a claimed invention that is novel and non-obvious would be necessarily found to have satisfied the inventive concept requirement. Alas, that is not the case. Under the ridiculously bastardized law of patent eligibility foisted upon us by the Supreme Court it is actually possible for a claimed invention to be both new and non-obvious and to somehow not exhibit an inventive concept under what is considered a proper patent eligibility analysis. Of course, it is a logical impossibility for a claimed invention to be both novel and non-obvious while simultaneously not exhibiting an inventive concept. If something is new and non-obvious it is by definition inventive. This disconnect merely demonstrates the objective absurdity of the Alice/Mayoframework.

What is Director Iancu Proposing the USPTO do for §101 Analysis?

Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Andrei Iancu made some interesting remarks yesterday at the Intellectual Property Owners Association Annual Meeting in Chicago on September 24, 2018 regarding a proposal for new guidance on how the USPTO would approach determination of subject matter eligibility under §101. In the IPO meeting’s (written) remarks, Dir. Iancu speaks at length about the current confusion in the Mayo/Alice framework and how “significantly more work needs to be done, especially on the ‘abstract idea’ exception.” Director Iancu asserted that “Currently, we’re actively looking for ways to simplify the eligibility determination for our examiners through forward-looking guidance. Through our administration of the patent laws, which we are charged to execute, the USPTO can lead, not just react to, every new case the courts issue.”

Alice at Age Four: Time to Grow Up

Four years later, the patent landscape demonstrates that Alice has become a train wreck for innovation… Unfortunately, the Federal Circuit failed to rein in this rout of Machiavellian creativity, which it could have done by relying on well-settled procedural process and patent doctrines… This year, the Federal Circuit appears finally to have awakened from its slumber. In two recent opinions, Aatrix v. Green Shades and Berkheimer v. HP, the Federal Circuit embraced long-established procedural rules and patent doctrines… Savvy and creative patent lawyering will prevail. To be successful, patent practitioners must show the PTO, the courts, and Congress the importance of our clients’ innovations and explain why the type of technology should not dictate whether there is enforceability.