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Posts Tagged: "judicial exceptions"

Does the Supreme Court even appreciate the patent eligibility chaos they created?

At the beginning of this decade the United States Supreme Court embarked on a path that would ultimately result in a significant re-writing of the law of patent eligibility in America. While this Supreme Court first became intrigued with patent eligibility in Bilski v. Kappos in 2010, it wasn’t until Mayo v. Prometheus (2012), AMP v. Myriad (2013) and Alice v. CLS Bank (2014) that the law became a chaotic mess that no longer resembled the well-established view of patent eligibility that dates back to at least the 1952 Patent Act… Is this Supreme Court really content with the subjective, extra-statutory test they have foisted upon the industry while changing the law? Does the Supreme Court even appreciate the chaos they have created?

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.

Where is the line between patentable subject matter and non-patentable products of nature?

A conflict exists between the incentive to invent and the breadth of patent-eligible subject matter. It has become difficult to recognize the line between patentable subject matter and non-patentable products of nature. The Supreme Court has made conflicting statements regarding that line in its rulings in Funk Bros. and Myriad Genetics. It is time for the Supreme Court to resolve the inconsistencies in their rulings on 35 U.S.C. § 101… This case is an ideal vehicle for providing the clarification the patent and investment community require.  At issue is how to determine whether something is a product of nature under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

Software Patent Eligibility at the Federal Circuit 2017

If there was a theme that emerged in 2017 it is the necessity to have what is specifically innovative disclosed in the claims. While not a particularly new concept, there were cases in 2017 where the Federal Circuit acknowledged that a patent eligible innovation may well have been disclosed in the specification, but which was not found in the claims. With many legacy software patents the description of the technology (if one actually existed) was only in the specification while the claims were written to be quite broad. The Federal Circuit requires both a thick technical description of the innovation and why it is an improvement (see Enfish) and incorporation of what is innovative into the claims… What follows picks up where my 2016 article left off and provides summary and analysis of the notable software patent eligibility cases decided by the Federal Circuit in 2017.

It is time to define the term ‘Abstract Idea’

The industry is collapsing all because no one in a black robe has the guts to define the critical term that is the core of a test that is whimsically applied in arbitrary and capricious fashion. And why? The test is whimsical, arbitrary, and capricious precisely because it is unpredictable and never repeatable. Of course, the reason it is unpredictable and never repeatable is because different judges and panel configurations apply it based on their own subjective views because no one has ever taken the time to define the key term; no one cares to even attempt to interject objectivity to what is a hopelessly subjective, unpredictable and arbitrary test.

Doc’s Orders: Analogize to Overcome Patent Eligibility Rejections

Taking a hint from what has worked before can give patent prosecutors an advantage. The question is then how to find such examples for use in forming arguments and claim amendments to address Alice v. CLS Bank rejections…. If you happen to face an Alice v. CLS Bank rejection or are sorted into an art unit that experiences a high volume of Alice v. CLS Bank rejections, consulting the prosecution history of successful cases in Public PAIR can prove fruitful for identifying analogous claim limitations and arguments that may help stimulate your thinking in forming a successful strategy for patentability.

Congress Needs to Act So Alice Doesn’t Live Here (in the Patent System) Anymore

The impact of Alice has been just what one would expect. The decisions of the USPTO examining corps, USPTO Patent Trial & Appeal Board, and lower courts have been wildly inconsistent. Far too many worthy inventions are being lost. Perhaps worse, the predictability innovators and investors in research and development require to effectively navigate the patent system has been eliminated. Change is sorely needed and overdue.

Mayo v. Prometheus: A lawless decision by an omnipotent Court wreaking havoc on patents

As we approach the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision this is what I know — Mayo is a lawless decision by a Court that has become too powerful. Mayo continues to wreak havoc on the patent system and innovators, and has resulted in patent protection being easier to obtain for cutting edge software, biotech, genetic and medical innovations in Europe, Canada, Australia and even China. Mayo is at the root of all of the problems facing the industry relative to patent eligibility, and if I could repeal only one Supreme Court decision in the patent space it would be Mayo. Indeed, the Supreme Court’s decision in Mayo is probably the worst, most wrongly decided case by the Supreme Court in the patent field ever. I say “probably” only because there are so many contenders to choose from that picking only one is truly difficult. Only the Supreme Court’s decision in eBay v. MercExchange comes at all close to Mayo in terms of damage to the patent system. Only the Supreme Court’s decision in Association of Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics comes close to Mayo in terms of intellectual dishonesty.

District Court Broadens Scope of Patent Ineligibility Under § 101 for a Treatment Method

The ‘156 patent discloses methods of treating and/or preventing metabolic diseases, particularly diabetes, in patients for whom metformin therapy is inappropriate due to intolerability or contraindication against metformin, e.g., renal disease, metabolic acidosis, congestive heart failure. Defendants alleged that the asserted claims are patent ineligible because the claims recite a natural law. Plaintiffs argued claims of the ’156 patent are directed towards methods of treating the targeted patient population with metabolic diseases using non-naturally existing DPP-IV inhibitors, which alter the natural state of the body in a new and useful way, and hence do not fall within the natural phenomena exception… Superficially, this decision may appear to be consistent with Mayo – methods of treatment claims that manipulate natural biological processes are considered to be directed to patent ineligible subject matter under § 101. However… it is not perfectly clear that the treatment claims of the patent-at-issue are directed to a law of nature or an abstract idea. Claim 1 is directed to an active practical application of a compound for treatment… The decision also appears at odds with the USPTO Subject Matter Eligibility Examples.

PTAB declares MRI machine an abstract idea, patent ineligible under Alice

In what can be described only as an utterly ridiculous, intellectually insulting, and idiotic decision, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has done the truly absurd. In Ex parte Hiroyuki Itagaki the PTAB has ruled a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine to be patent ineligible because it is an abstract idea, citing the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v. CLS Bank for support.

A Guide to Software Patent Eligibility at the Federal Circuit

The Alice/Mayo framework is the decisional approach adopted by the United States Supreme Court for determining whether a patent claim exhibits, such as software patent claims, embody patent eligible subject matter… Over the last six months the Federal Circuit has provided a great deal of clarity, with 9 judges (Judges Moore, Taranto, Hughes, Chen, Newman, O’Malley, Reyna, Stoll, and Plager) signing on to decisions that found software patent claims to be patent eligible. What follows is a a summary of the significant developments over the last six months.

Federal Circuit rules claims defining information-based result are patent ineligible

The CAFC then approvingly noted that the district court invoked “an important common-sense distinction between ends sought and particular means of achieving them, between desired results (functions) and particular ways of achieving (performing) them.” As the district court reasoned, “‘there is a critical difference between patenting a particular concrete solution to a problem and attempting to patent the abstract idea of a solution to the problem in general.’” According to the CAFC, the claims at issue in this case do the latter, namely, “rather than claiming ‘some specific way of enabling a computer to monitor data from multiple sources across an electric power grid,’ some ‘particular implementation,’ they ‘purport to monopolize every potential solution to the problem’…Whereas patenting a particular solution ‘would incentivize further innovation in the form of alternative methods for achieving the same result’… allowing claims like [the ones at issue here] would ‘inhibit[] innovation by prohibiting other inventors from developing their own solutions to the problem without first licensing the abstract idea.’”

Federal Circuit gives patent eligibility relief to life sciences sector

The Federal Circuit, with Chief Judge Prost writing for the majority, joined by Judge Moore and Judge Stoll, vacated and remanded the case after ruling that the ‘929 patent claims are not directed to a patent-ineligible concept. “This is very heartening since the Supreme Court denied cert in Sequenom,” said Bob Stoll, former Commissioner for Patents at the United States Patent and Trademark Office and current partner at Drinker Biddle in Washington, DC. “It is great to see the CAFC apply the Supreme Court decisions more narrowly, as intended by that Court, and provide some relief to innovators that will help them to attract funding to develop their inventions.”

No Bridge Over the Troubled Waters of Section 101

The waters surrounding Section 101 of the Patent Act are as muddied as they come. The statute sets forth only in broad strokes what inventions are patentable, leaving it to the courts to create an implied exception to patentability for laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas. It has been difficult for lower courts to determine whether an invention falls within one of these excluded categories, and the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to provide a definition of what constitutes an “abstract idea.” Nonetheless, the Court in recent years has laid several foundation stones in Bilski, Mayo, Myriad and Alice for a bridge over these troubled waters. Trying to build upon these, the Federal Circuit issued two recent opinions dealing with Section 101: Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corporation and In re: TLI Communications LLC Patent Litigation. However, these decisions only create more confusion and cannot provide a safe means of passage over the turbulent waters of patent eligibility.

Jericho asks SCOTUS to consider whether blueprint for Defense Global Information grid is abstract

Jericho’s access control model was first used as the blueprint for the Department of Defense Global Information grid in 2007. The software was later deployed across two Department of Defense secure network enterprises, providing access control to over six million persons and entities. Five years later, President Obama mandated the use of this model in every U.S. Government enterprise. The district court found the patent claims to be patent ineligible under the abstract idea doctrine, saying it did not matter that the system operated faster and more efficiently. The Federal Circuit affirmed without opinion in a Rule 36 summary affirmance.