Looking Forward: Predictions and Thoughts for 2019
Given that several industry insiders were willing to make their own predictions, I’ll go out on a limb and make my own predictions… First, I predict Congress will do nothing on patent reform in 2019. With a divided Congress and a House of Representatives that could well spent precious legislative time on impeachment and other investigations, intellectual property matters likely won’t register even a blip on the public radar inside the beltway. Second, I predict there will be much effort behind the scenes on Capitol Hill to position various legislative fixes to 35 U.S.C. 101 so that when attention does turn to patent eligibility the ground work will be laid and much of the heavy lifting already done. So, if you think you can sit out 2019 because nothing is happening you’d be incorrect. Those that want to influence the next round of patent reform have already been working and by the time it is rolled out publicly it will be too late. Third, I predict the United States Patent and Trademark Office will define the term “abstract idea”. This is hardly going out on a limb since Director Iancu has all but promised just that in a speech given at Georgetown on November 26, 2018. Since the courts refuse to define the term the USPTO will closely identify only those innovations that the Supreme Court has identified as representing an “abstract idea” and closely define the term to mean those things and only those things are abstract ideas, with everything else in the computer implemented universe not being directed to an abstract idea and, therefore, patent eligible under Step 2A of the Alice/Mayo framework.