Posts Tagged: "Patentability"

DABUS Scores Again with Win on AI Inventorship Question in Australia Court

The Federal Court of Australia on Friday ruled in Thaler v Commissioner of Patents [2021] FCA 879 that an artificial intelligence (AI) system can be an inventor under the Australian Patents Act. The Honorable Justice Beach, in a very thorough judgment, set aside the decision of the Deputy Commissioner of Patents that patent application no. 2019363177 did not comply with reg 3.2C(2)(aa) of the Patents Regulations 1991 (Cth), which “requires that the applicant, who in this case is Dr Stephen Thaler, must provide the name of the inventor of the invention to which the application relates.” The Deputy Commissioner of Patents said that Thaler could not name an inventor because an AI simply cannot be an inventor under the Act. But Justice Beach said “that position confuses the question of ownership and control of a patentable invention including who can be a patentee, on the one hand, with the question of who can be an inventor, on the other hand.”

‘AISITAs’ and Written Description Requirements: Considerations and Guidance for AI Patent Applications

Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere, touching nearly every aspect of our daily lives, including how we work, communicate, shop, travel and more. The term “AI” is generally understood to encompass computerized systems that perform tasks ordinarily perceived as requiring some form of human intelligence. Many AI-based systems are able to recognize trends, patterns and connections, test hypotheses using available data sets, and continuously improve decision trees based on user input. As such, AI has been shown to have near endless applications, driving a surge of inventions and related patent application filings.

CAFC Reverses PTAB Obviousness Finding, Clarifying Concepts of ‘Teaching Away’ and ‘Commercial Success’

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) yesterday concluded that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) decision finding certain claims of Chemours’ patents obvious was not supported by substantial evidence and that the Board erred in its analysis of objective indicia of nonobviousness. As such, the CAFC reversed the decisions.

A Recent Senate IP Subcommittee Hearing Demonstrates the Danger of Patent Fallacies

During the Senate Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property hearing, titled Protecting Real Innovations by Improving Patent Quality, held on June 22,  Jorge Contreras, Presidential Scholar and Professor of Law at the S.J. Quinney College of Law of the University of Utah, testified under oath that patents are effectively the same thing as products, and seemed to suggest that executive fraud unrelated to patents must make the patents fraudulent too. This, of course, is a fallacy. It shows a fundamental and deep misunderstanding of what patents are and how they work, and completely misrepresents law and logic. If taken seriously, Contreras’ testimony would destroy the value of virtually every patent portfolio and further chill investment in new technologies. It is an alarming position coming from a patent lawyer and credentialed law school professor who claims he is “intimately familiar with the topic of today’s hearings.”

Disclosure Requirements in Software Patents: Avoiding Indefiniteness

How much detail is needed in a patent application for a software-based invention? Software patents present some unique challenges that many other kinds of patent applications do not need to contend with, one of them being the level of disclosure and care in drafting needed to avoid indefiniteness issues. While source code is not required in most cases, a growing body of case law indicates that insufficient detail about the algorithms underpinning the invention could render the patent claims indefinite, meaning that the scope of the claimed invention is too ambiguous. If the patent examiner deems the disclosure to be inadequate during examination, indefiniteness could prevent a patent from issuing. In the case of an already-issued patent, indefiniteness could render the claims unenforceable.

Patent Procurement and Strategy for Business Success Part III: Prosecution – Wielding an Invisible Hand

In the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s ) patent academy (or today’s version of such), patent examiners are taught that the objective of the patent examiner is to “issue valid patents promptly.” In pursuing this institutional interest, each examiner conducts examinations that they independently manage. Although patent prosecutors cannot control an examiner’s decisions, they can establish a context that encourages a favorable outcome. If first and second application drafters each drafted applications to cover the same invention (that met all of the requirements of 35 USC 112) the presentation of the content in the respective applications could engender drastically different examination processes. This is because there is a relationship between the manner in which the content of a patent application is presented and the character of the examination process that follows.

iLife Ties Its Patent Eligibility Fate to American Axle at Supreme Court

iLife Technologies last week petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its appeal of a January 2021 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision upholding a district court’s finding of patent ineligibility for claim 1 of iLife’s U.S. Patent No. 6,864,796. Claim 1 of the ‘796 patent “is directed to a motion detection system that evaluates relative movement of a body based on both dynamic acceleration (e.g., vibration, body movement) and static acceleration (i.e., the position of a body relative to earth).” iLife had accused Nintendoof infringing the patent through sales of products such as Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, Wii Club Sports and Mario Kart 8.

CAFC Affirms District Court Section 101 Dismissal in Patent Infringement Suit Brought Against Samsung/Apple; Newman Dissents

On June 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California’s grant of a motion to dismiss for Apple and Samsung in a patent infringement action brought by Yanbin Yu and Zhongxuan Zhang (collectively, “Yu”). Yu alleged infringement of Claims 1, 2, and 4 of U.S. Patent No. 6,611,289 (the ‘289 patent), titled “Digital Cameras Using Multiple Sensors with Multiple Lenses,” and the court dismissed due to ineligibility under Section 101. Judge Pauline Newman dissented.

Peloton’s Online Exercise Class Patents: Past, Present and Future

Peloton Interactive, Inc. is a popular fitness company that offers high-end stationary bikes, treadmills, and online exercise classes. The demand for online exercise classes increased significantly during the pandemic, and so did Peloton’s market cap. With over 4 million members and quarterly revenue over $1 billion, Peloton has become a leader in the online fitness industry. Peloton secured certain patent rights in the United States with respect to online exercise classes during the early years of its development and has continuously expanded its patent portfolio. Its online exercise patents claim methods and systems that enable users to virtually compare with and compete against other users. This article explores the prosecution history of these patents, their current challenges under inter partes review (IPR) proceedings, and possible future developments.

Tillis and Cotton Urge Hirshfeld to Adopt Pilot Program to Address ‘Inherently Vague and Subjective’ Eligibility Analyses

Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) sent a letter on Monday to the acting Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Drew Hirshfeld, asking him to “initiate a pilot program directing examiners to apply a sequenced approach to patent examination,” rather than the traditional “compact approach.” This proposed pilot program would require a select group of examiners and applicants who elected to participate in the program “to engage in a full examination of the grounds of patentability and then, once that process is complete, a full examination of the grounds of eligibility.”

Patenting Simulations at the EPO: Decision G1/19 and Its Consequences for Computer-Implemented Inventions

The Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) recently published its decision No. G1/19 on patentability of simulations. There was great anticipation for such a decision, after landmark decisions 641/00 (COMVIK) and G3/08, mainly due to the ambiguous formulations of the questions of law to the Enlarged Board of Appeal. The result is “business as usual”, but several clarifications might be useful in the future. In the following, we first summarize the questions of law, the clarifications of the Enlarged Board of Appeal and then infer possible consequences for applicants and practitioners.

CAFC Affirms PTAB Rejection of Stanford Haplotype Phasing Patent Claims Under Alice

On March 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to hold the rejected claims from Leland Stanford Junior University (Stanford) were not patent eligible because the claims are drawn to abstract mathematical calculations and statistical modeling. The examiner rejected claims 1, 4 to 11, 14 to 25, and 27 to 30 of U.S. Application Nos. 13/445,925 (‘925 application), “methods and computing systems for determining haplotype phase,” for involving patent ineligible subject matter. The CAFC applied the two-step framework under Alice v. CLS Bank to determine whether the claims were patent eligible.  

What to Know About the European Patent Office 2021 Guidelines for Examination: Part II – Biotech

As discussed in Part I of this article, the European Patent Office (EPO) recently published its Guidelines for Examination 2021, which came into force on March 1. In the previous article, we detailed changes affecting computer-implemented inventions and with respect to procedural matters. Here, we will address the Guidelines’ changes for biotech. In addition to some specifications regarding the interpretation of terms relating to amino and nucleic acid sequences and the definition of the concept of “therapy” and of the products that can be claimed in view of their new medical use, the main additions that have been made to the part of the Guidelines relating to biotechnological inventions concern the exclusions from patentability, and in particular the ineligibility of inventions relating to plants or animals and human embryos. A full section has also been added relating to the patentability of antibodies.

CAFC Weighs in Again on IPR Joinder Estoppel, Affirms PTAB Holding that Uniloc Patent Claims are Obvious

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) ruled yesterday in Uniloc v. Facebook, Inc., WhatsApp, Inc. that the “no appeal” provision of 35 U.S.C. § 314 does not preclude the court from reviewing a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) finding that a petitioner is not estopped from maintaining an IPR proceeding under the IPR estoppel provision of 35 U.S.C. § 315(e)(1). However, the court noted that its decision was based on the particular facts of this case, where “the alleged estoppel-triggering event occurred after institution.”

Balancing Innovation and Competition: Thomas Jefferson’s View of Obviousness for Mechanical Inventions

You cannot get a patent for an invention if it would have been obvious to a person of ordinary skill in the art at the time. This is as true today as it was at the founding of our nation. The reason for this rule is clear—the obviousness-bar is necessary to balance rewarding innovation with free and fair competition. The Supreme Court has observed, alluding to the Constitution’s authorization for federal patents, “[w]ere it otherwise, patents might stifle, rather than promote, the progress of useful arts.” KSR Int’l Co. v. Teleflex, Inc., 550 U.S. 398, 427 (2007). While we all agree that obvious inventions should not be patented, the devil is in the details on how to draw that line between the obvious and the nonobvious.