Posts Tagged: "patentability requirements"

Selective Precedent Amnesia: The Nonsensical Reasoning in the Supreme Court’s Mayo Collaborative Services Decision Part 3*

You could attribute what happened here to “selective precedent amnesia.” But frankly such mishandling of binding Supreme Court precedent in Mayo Collaborative Services is a huge problem. (As one commentator has astutely noted, we now have Supreme Court precedent going off in two diametrically opposed directions on essentially the same patent-eligibility issue.) Any persuasiveness (or balance) in the opinion in Mayo Collaborative Services is greatly undermined by failing to directly (and fairly) address Diehr.

Prometheus – What are We to Make of All This?

From this perspective, (and setting aside considerations of novelty or obviousness) one might conclude that, rather than claiming some methods with reference to anything that looks like a law of nature in a claim, thus raising the specter of §101, it may be better to claim some methods more broadly so as to avoid such issues – maybe obtaining broader claim scope in any event.

A Matter of Patent Law Despotism: The Nonsensical Reasoning in the Supreme Court’s Mayo Collaborative Services Decision Part 2*

Those supporting the reasoning in Breyer’s opinion repeatedly “crow” that Mayo Collaborative Services was a 9-0 decision. But the fact that 9 technologically-challenged Justices reached a unanimous decision based on nonsensical, as well as logically and legally-flawed, reasoning does not impress me, or persuade me. That those 9 Justices simply chose to trounce the Federal Circuit’s decision without leaving any understandable guidance in its place for us mere mortals, chose to deliberately ignore a thoughtful suggestion from the U.S. Solicitor General, and simply determined patent-eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 in a vacuum divorced from any consideration of the relevant context of other patent statutes just makes Breyer’s opinion result-driven and despotic. Such patent law despotism does not earn my respect, only my scorn.

Eviscerating Patent-Eligibility of Drug Testing Methods: The Nonsensical Reasoning in the SCOTUS Prometheus Decision*

Well, Justice Breyer, the writer of the dissenting opinion in Laboratory Corp. v. Metabolite Laboratories, Inc., finally got his wish. Writing the opinion for a unanimous Supreme Court in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., Breyer ruled that a claimed drug dosage calibration method based on previously unknown “precise correlations between metabolite levels [of administered thiopurine drugs] and likely harm or ineffectiveness” was patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 because it “adds nothing to the laws of nature that is not already present when the steps [of the claimed method] are considered separately.” While I’m not surprised that Breyer ruled the claimed method patent-ineligible, his reasoning in Mayo Collaborative Services is, in my view, often nonsensical, and is fraught with unfortunate statements that could potentially eviscerate the patent-eligibility of drug testing methods generally under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

Killing Industry: The Supreme Court Blows Mayo v. Prometheus

The sky is falling! Those who feel the Supreme Court’s decision in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. is terrible are right, although many won’t likely fully apprehend the gravity of the situation at first. Those in the biotech, pharmaceutical and chemical industries have just been taken out behind the woodshed and summarily executed by the Supreme Court this morning. An enormous number of patents will now have no enforceable claims. Hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate value has been erased. But that might be a good thing. Immediate attention now must turn to Congress. Thank goodness that the technical amendments to the America Invents Act are outstanding. This will provide a perfect opportunity for Congress to save an industry that employs many millions of people, while at the same time undoing a pathetic, narrow-minded decision of the Supreme Court.

Throwing Down the Gauntlet: Rader Rules in Utramercial that Breadth and Lack Specificity Does Not Make Claimed Method Impermissibly Abstract*

Some will undoubtedly view the Chief Judge’s basis in Ultramercial for distinguishing the ruling in CyberSource as being “slight of hand” and using “mirrors,” but it certainly illustrates the wide gulf of views between the various members on the Federal Circuit on the patent-eligibility question. I wouldn’t be surprised (and frankly it needs to happen) if both Ultramercial and CyberSource ended up before the en banc Federal Circuit. As I’ve noted previously, we’ve currently got what appear to be irreconcilable decisions in the Classen, Prometheus, and AMP cases in determining the patent-eligibility of certain medical (e.g., diagnostic) methods. With what appears to be similarly conflicting decisions in Ultramercial and CyberSource, the gauntlet has truly been thrown down. An en banc Federal Circuit needs to step in soon, or the conflagration that currently exists in the patent-eligibility “war” might soon consume us all.

CAFC on Patent-Eligibility: A Firestorm of Opinions in Classen*

That there was a majority (and a dissenting) opinion in the remand of Classen wasn’t surprising. But that there was yet a third “additional views” opinion would likely not have been predicted by anyone. And it is that “additional views” opinion, along with the majority and dissenting opinions, that will certainly generate a “firestorm” through the Federal Circuit, and which may eventually reach the Supreme Court. The judicial donnybrook on the question of what the standard is (or should be) for patent-eligibility under 35 U.S.C. §101 is about to begin in earnest.

Patenting Business Methods and Software in the U.S.

Any method claim that does not require machine implementation or does not cause a transformation will fail the test and will be rejected under § 101. The importance of this from a practical standpoint is that business methods not tied to a machine are going to be rejected under § 101 and the rejection will be difficult, if not impossible, to overcome.

One Year Post-Bilski: How the Decision is Being Interpreted

This week marks the first anniversary of the Supreme Court issuing its decision in Bilski v. Kappos. The decision held that the machine-or-transformation test is not the exclusive test for patent eligibility, and that the three traditional exclusions of natural phenomena, abstract ideas, and laws of nature still apply. The summary of cases prepared by Attorneys Holoubek and Sterne is excellent! It is absolutely must reading for attorneys prosecuting and litigating in this space.

The Constitutional Underpinnings of Patent Law

The United States Constitution grants to the Congress the power to grant patents; this power residing in the Congress is found in Article I, Section 8, Clause 8. Unlike most of the enumerated powers granted to Congress in the Constitution, the Intellectual Property Clause is a qualified grant of power, which does limit Congressional discretion in significant ways. The Congress does not have free reign to decide that patents should be easily or freely given, but rather must limit their exercise of power to the dictates of the clause itself. See Bonito Boats, Inc. v. Thunder Craft Boats, Inc., 489 U.S. 141, 146 (1989). See also Graham v. John Deere Co. of Kansas City, 383 U.S. 1, 5 (1966) (“The clause is both a grant of power and a limitation. This qualified authority, unlike the power often exercised in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by the English Crown, is limited to the promotion of advances in the ‘useful arts.’”).

The Problem with Software Patents? Uninformed Critics!

Listening to those who code complain about patents is nearly hysterical. They still haven’t figured out that by and large they are not innovators, but rather merely translators. Perhaps that is why they so frequently think that whatever they could have come up with themselves is hardly worthy of being patented. Maybe they are correct, but that doesn’t mean that an appropriately engineered system isn’t patentable, it just means that those who code are not nearly as likely to come up with such a system in the first place because they rarely, if ever, seem to approach a project as an engineer would. Rather, they jump right in and start coding. In the engineering world that is a recipe for disaster, and probably explains why so much software that we pay so much money for today is hardly worthy of being called a beta, much less a finished product.

What is Prior Art?

The trouble with explaining what prior art is stems from the fact that everyone already thinks they know what it is. Conceptually we do not want to issue patents for inventions that are not considered new, which seems fair enough. The trouble is defining what is “new.” For now, let’s just say that prior art must be a reference of some type (i.e., a patent or a printed publication) or some type of knowledge or event (i.e., public knowledge, public use or a sale of a product) that demonstrates that the invention in question is not new.

Now comes the curve ball you have probably been expecting. Not all references, knowledge or events that can demonstrate that an invention is “old” or already known can be used by examiners or during litigation against an invention.

Federal Circuit: Foreign Application Not Priority in Interference When it Only “Envisions” Invention

Last week the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a ruling in Goeddel v. Sugano, which might be one of a dying breed should patent reform actually pass. The case dealt with an appeal from an interference proceeding where the Board awarded priority based on a Japanese application. The Federal Circuit, per Judge Newman, explained that it was inappropriate to say that the Japanese application demonstrated a constructive reduction to practice because the application merely would allow the skilled reader to “envision” the invention covered in the interference count. If patent reform passes (and yes that could really happen) cases like Goeddel would become a thing of the past, although priority determinations like this one in Goeddel will certainly not go away.

Apple Seeks Patents on Travel, Hotel and Fashion Apps

Earlier this week Apple, Inc. had three patent application publish on what most would consider strange, overbroad and/or dubious inventions. The patents largely follow the same formula, the drawings are remarkably similar, and all relate back to provisional patents filed at the end of January 2009. Many will ridicule these patent applications, and given that obviousness is now about common sense thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision in KSR v. Teleflex I think rightly so. I find it hard to believe that there would not be prior art located that dates back to before January 2009 that will present massive difficulties for Apple.

Patent Office Releases Interim Bilski Guidelines

This morning the United States Patent and Trademark Office published Interim Guidance for Determining Subject Matter Eligibility for Process Claims in View of Bilski v. Kappos. The Interim Bilski Guidance is effective July 27, 2010, and applies to all applications filed before, on or after the effective date. Most noteworthy is that the Patent Office is encouraging examiners to issue 101 rejection in only “extreme cases” and allow patentability to be decided by sections 102, 103 and 112.