Posts Tagged: "patentability requirements"

USPTO: No Change to Software Patentability Evaluation

In a one-page memorandum to the Patent Examining Corps dated May 13, 2013, Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy Drew Hirshfeld had a simple message to respond to the Federal Circuit’s en banc non-decision in CLS Bank v. Alice Corp. The message was this: “there is no change in examination procedure for evaluating subject matter eligibility.”

Are Robots Patent Eligible?

Why have claims if the claims don’t matter. Essentially Judge Lourie, and the Canadian Patent Office too, are saying ignore the claims and read the specification to determine what the innovation is and then without regard to the language of the claims make your determination. Under this viewpoint claims are simply irrelevant. Yet we know that claims are not irrelevant, and such a view is directly contrary to the Patent Act itself. Ignoring claims is utterly ridiculous given inventions are not patentable. Patent claims are supposed to be evaluating NOT the entirety of the invention. The sine quo non of patents are the claims. It is black letter law that the claims define the exclusive right granted. Ignoring the claims shows reckless disregard for the well established law and is nothing short of judicial activism.

What Happened to Judge Lourie in CLS Bank v. Alice Corp?

The first thing that any student of the Federal Circuit likely notices when reading CLS Bank is that Judge Lourie not only joined the dominant concurrence, but he also wrote the opinion. The same Judge Lourie who wrote the first opinion in Mayo, after which the Supreme Court asked the Federal Circuit to reconsider, and who then wrote the second opinion in Mayo. The same Judge Lourie who wrote the first opinion in Myriad, after which the Supreme Court asked the Federal Circuit to reconsider, and who then wrote the second opinion in Myriad[12]. All of those opinions interpret §101 broadly. What changed?

Did the Federal Circuit Ignore the Supreme Court in CLS Bank?

While the Supreme Court has done away with the “useful, concrete and tangible result” test from State Street Bank v. Signature Financial, in Bilski v. Kappos, 8 out of 9 Justices (i.e., everyone except Justice Scalia) signed onto an opinion that recognized that the patent claims in State Street displayed patent eligible subject matter. Indeed, the dissenters in Bilski specifically acknowledged that the claims at issue in State Street did not deal with processes, but dealt with machines. See Footnote 40 of the Steven’s dissent. The import of this is that machines are specifically patent eligible subject matter, so if the claims of State Street are to machines then claims that are similarly configured would also be directed to machines and therefore patent eligible.

Is IBM’s Watson Still Patent Eligible?

Watson? It is an artificially intelligent computer system that is capable of answering questions presented in natural language. It is, in essence, the modern day equivalent to the all knowing Star Trek computer. It is flat out ridiculous to be asking whether the Star Trek omnipotent computer could be patent eligible, that that is where we find ourselves because what makes the computer unique is the software that makes it possible for Watson to perform 80 trillion operations per second. But Federal Circuit Judges say that mere fact that software is fast doesn’t make it patent eligible unless there is some kind of uniqueness to the computer itself. Have we really reached the point where truly astonishing innovations, innovations once thought to be impossible, are not patent eligible? Talk about jumping the shark!

5 CAFC Judges Say Computers Patentable, Not Software

Perpetuating the myth that the computer is where the magic lies does nothing other than ignore reality. Software is what makes everything happen. or crying out loud, software drives a multitude of machines! Maybe the auto mechanic for Judges Judges Lourie, Dyk, Prost, Reyna and Wallach should remove the software from their cars. Perhaps as they are stranded and forced to walk to work they might have time to contemplate the world they seem to want to force upon the rest of us; a world hat clings to mechanical machines completely non-reliant on software. That will be great for the economy!

Federal Circuit Nightmare in CLS Bank v. Alice Corp.

The only thing we know is this — the Federal Circuit issued an extraordinarily brief per curiam decision, which stated: “Upon consideration en banc, a majority of the court affirms the district court’s holding that the asserted method and computer-readable media claims are not directed to eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. An equally divided court affirms the district court’s holding that the asserted system claims are not directed to eligible subject matter under that statute.” Thus, the asserted claims are not patent eligible.

Patent Pending: Corporations, the Constitution, and the Human Gene

The Honorable Alex Kozinski immediately posed the question—by way of an analogy to scientists who stare at the stars—of why should someone be able to get a gene patent just because there was a significant amount of effort put in to discover that gene. Throughout the event, Judge Kozinski took on the role of the generalist judge, who would need to be convinced that the invention in the lab is anything other than a product of nature. Professor David Winickoff of UC Berkeley followed that question up by discussing James Watson’s amicus brief and the idea that genes are both symbolic in our culture and shared by all humans, thus making them a unique item in our world.

No One is Patenting Your Genes: The Ripple Effect if Isolated DNA Claims Are Made Patent Ineligible

One side in the “gene patent war” has nevertheless convinced the Supreme Court to weigh in on the issue of whether DNA sequences derived from the human genome are patentable, in Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) v. Myriad Genetics, while disingenuously labeling the patents at issue as “human gene patents.” Let’s set the record straight.

AMP v. Myriad: SCOTUS Must Remember What Case Is Not About*

As Myriad has correctly pointed out in its brief in opposition to the grant of certiorari, the question posed by the ACLU/PubPat (“Are Human Genes Patentable”) is absolutely the wrong one to answer: “The first question presented [by the ACLU/PubPat] bears no relation to the uncontroverted facts of this case.” (Myriad’s brief in opposition has also pointed out at least 4 other significant factual and legal “misstatements” made in the petition for certiorari by ACLU/PubPat.) As much as the ACLU/PubPat (and others) want to make the Myriad case into about “Who Owns You,” what Myriad has claimed does nothing of the sort. In fact, a “yes” answer to the question posed by the ACLU/PubPat does not automatically lead to Myriad’s claimed “isolated” DNA sequences being patent-ineligible. Those claimed “isolated” DNA sequences are not “genes” by any standard molecular biology definition of what that term actually means. Instead, and as accurately characterized by Judge Lourie, these claimed “isolated” DNA sequences are “novel biological molecules.”

CLS Bank v Alice – Federal Circuit Orders en banc Rehearing

It is arguable that neither view is beyond criticism and that any emergent legal test as to patent-eligibility demands further development. There is much to commend the majority view that each of §§101, 102, 103 and 112 serves a different purpose and presents different questions and that under §101 only when it is apparent that the claimed subject-matter is a manifestly ineligible abstract idea should that subject-matter be excluded. Significant involvement of a computer in the working of the invention points towards invention.

The Impact of the America Invents Act on the Definition of Prior Art

While the search for prior art won’t likely be impacted, the value of the prior art located will be dramatically impacted according to Ken Hattori, partner in the Washington, D.C. firm of Westerman, Hattori, Daniels & Adrian, LLP. “US patents with a foreign priority claim will become tremendously stronger as prior art,” says Hattori. “The subject matter disclosed in the US patent has an effectively filed date as priority date since the Hilmer doctrine is eliminated.” This is significant because “there will be no Section 112 requirement for the description of the subject matter disclosed in the foreign specification. Thus, the subject matter in a prior art US patent or application will go back to the foreign filing date as a reference.”

Broad Claims to Signals & Computer Program Products in EPO

The good news is that signal claims and broad claims to computer program products are obtainable in Europe. However, such claims are only grantable if the necessary language is present in the European application or the International application as filed, otherwise objection will arise under a.123(2) EPC. Further, the EPO rules on priority are strict, and if the necessary language is missing from the US provisional or utility application from which priority is claimed, then signal or unrestricted computer program product claims will not benefit from priority. It is at the time of US filing that the necessary language must be introduced, and in particular entry into the European regional phase is too late.

Remembering Nuijten and Comisky 5 Years Later

On Thursday, September 20, 2007, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued two decisions that provoked much debate, and which deserve to be remembered. The first case, In re Comiskey, seemed rather straight forward and certainly not earth shattering. In the other case of the day, In re Nuijten, the Federal Circuit determined that a propagating signal cannot be patented because it is does not qualify as patentable subject matter. Frankly, I think the ruling in Nuijten can be simply summarized by saying that Judges Gajarsa and Moore didn’t understand the technology. Thus, in baseball terminology, on September 20, 2007, the Federal Circuit went 1 for 2, which would put you on a sure path to enshrinement in Cooperstown, but is not what you would hope for when dealing with an area of patent law as fundamentally important as patentable subject matter.

RMail v. Amazon.com: Can Invalidity Based on 35 U.S.C. § 101 Be Properly Raised as a Defense in Litigation?*

As pointed out astutely by RMail is that the Supreme Court jurisprudence on patent-eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 have primarily involved ex parte prosecution appeals from the USPTO. There are only two instances involving patent litigation I’m aware of where the Supreme Court squarely determined patent-eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101: the recent case of Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. (ruling that the claimed method was patent-ineligible under the “law of nature” doctrine); and the 2001 case of Pioneer Hi-Bred International v. JEM AG Supply (which ruled that sexually reproduced plants qualified as either “manufactures” or “compositions of matter” under 35 U.S.C. § 101). But as RMail correctly observed, no one seems to have pointed out to the Supreme Court this important threshold issue of statutory construction, and statutory limitations on the powers of the federal courts. Accordingly, Prometheus does not bar this Court from issuing a correct ruling in the present adversarial context.